Food & Water Watch, a consumer activist group, filed a lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration after the agency withheld information on how many inspections of products and facilities it conducted over the past seven years across the country. Food & Water Watch submitted a request in August 2007 for the agency's work plans under the Freedom of Information Act, but the agency denied the group's request.
"In light of the import safety problems in recent months, consumers need to know how our food system works," stated Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "The Food and Drug Administration is chronically short on resources to address food safety, and we are being denied important information on how the agency has managed these resources to protect consumers in the face of ever-increasing food imports."
According to the claim filed at the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, FDA illegally withheld its "work plans" for FDA's field inspection staff. These work plans detail the agency's yearly goals for performing inspection activities for ensuring the safety of food, drugs, cosmetics, biologics, medical devices, animal feed and drugs, and radiation-emitting products.