Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), alleging that APHIS has violated FOIA by routinely failing to respond to requests for records related to genetically engineered (GE) crops, unlawfully delaying its responses, and withholding public disclosure of information.
APHIS has failed to provide a timely final response to at least 29 of CFS’s FOIA requests or appeals. Of these, APHIS has entirely failed to provide a final response to 10 requests and 2 appeals. The lawsuit asks the court to direct APHIS to promptly provide CFS with the requested information and to order APHIS to stop its practice of failing to respond to FOIA requests related to GE crops.
GE crops are known to cause agronomic and environmental harms, such as transgenic contamination of traditional and organic crops. The vast majority of GE crops are engineered to be resistant to pesticides, and as a consequence, their introduction has dramatically increased the total pesticide use in U.S. agriculture. APHIS still oversees GE crops under regulations drafted in the 1990s, and in March of this year suddenly abandoned its plans to update its GE crop regulations, which the agency had proposed to do since 2004. Under the current regulations, experimental field trials of GE crops have repeatedly been found to escape containment, and APHIS has refused to monitor or regulate GE crops once they are commercialized.
This is the fourth time CFS has had to sue APHIS to compel compliance with FOIA, and is the most extensive challenge to APHIS’s pattern of unreasonable delays to date.
Source: Sustainable Pulse