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The US Is Allegedly Withholding Information About GMOs

The Center for Food Safety says an agency of the Department of Agriculture does not properly respond to the group's Freedom of Information Act requests.

by VICE News
Aug 26 2015, 8:55pm

Photo by Shannon Dininny/AP

A nonprofit organization called the Center for Food Safety filed suit on Tuesday against a division of the US Department of Agriculture for allegedly not responding properly to their requests for information about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The food advocacy organization is suing the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS. The group claims that APHIS did not give a "timely final response" to at least 29 requests or appeals through FOIA, and that in about a third of those instances the agency did not provide any response.

Related: Here's What Religious Experts Have to Say About Faith and GMOs

Among their complaints, the group charges that APHIS did not respond to a request pertaining to GMO sorghum and did not respond in a timely way to three requests about GMO wheat. It also cites four-to-five year delays to FOIA requests regarding GMO bentgrass.

"APHIS has a track record of irresponsible and inadequate regulation of [GMO] crops," the organization's staff attorney, Cristina Stella, said in a statement. "In the absence of thorough government oversight, public access to information about these crops becomes all the more critical."

The Center for Food Safety want the court to compel AIPHIS to hand over the information it asked for and to cease its unresponsiveness to requests about GMO food. The group said that GMO crops damage the environment, spur greater pesticide use, and contaminate other crops.

Richard Bell, a spokesman for APHIS, told VICE News, "We are unable to comment on pending litigation." 

Watch Are GMOs Safe? — The People Speak here: