- The Center for Food Safety has gone to court to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release 1,179 documents that pertain to its approval of genetically modified alfalfa.
- According to the public interest group, the documents could shed light on why the agency's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) changed its position in 2011 and granted Monsanto approval to sell Roundup Ready Alfalfa.
- The Center for Food Safety sought release of the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but APHIS withheld the documents and ignored an administrative appeal, according to the public interest group.
The Center for Food Safety's lawsuit, filed on March 12, 2014, alleges APHIS has violated FOIA. It refers to the FOIA request for documents back in January 2011. APHIS issued a complete response to the request on June 22, 2012, withholding 1,179 of the 3,699 requested documents. APHIS claimed the withheld documents were exempt from FOIA. The Center for Food Safety filed an administrative appeal on Aug. 5, 2012, but the public interest group said APHIS has yet to respond to the appeal and that it has "fully exhausted its administrative remedies."
Usually when there's a report involving a lawsuit and Monsanto, it's the company that is being sued, but this case is focused on getting the FDA to release the documents in question. This has already dragged on for 3 years, but at the rates in which courts move, it will likely drag on for quite a while longer.