• Microbiological sampling and testing data (for example, testing for Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes).
  • Residue sampling and testing data (for example, testing for drug, pesticide and other chemical residues).
  • Facility-specific noncompliance records (NRs) identified during routine inspection activities.
  • Food-safety assessments (FSAs), evaluations of the entirety of a facility’s food-safety program, including the nature and source of raw materials, processes, the environment, and all other aspects included under the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)11 plan.
  • Facility-specific HACCP verifications.
  • Foodborne-disease outbreak investigation closeout reports.

Depending on the individual circumstance (case by case), portions of the data listed above may be withheld under one or more FOIA exemptions. The specific reasons for denying FOIA requests for data or for not releasing data in their entirety or original form are given in Box 2-1.12 FSIS has a Web site13 that provides FOIA reports annually, disclosing summary information on the number of initial FOIA requests received, their dispositions, and information on appeals of denials of information. The Web site details the number of requests that were denied and their FOIA exemption categories. For example, in 2004 and 2005, the most common reasons for denying FSIS FOIA requests were (in descending frequency) exemptions 6, 4, 7c, and 2 (see Box 2-1).


11HACCP is a system for managing the safety of food through the analysis and control of biologic, chemical, and physical hazards (NRC, 2010).

12The Freedom of Information Act 5 USC § 552, As Amended By Public Law 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048. See http://www.justice.gov/oip/foia_updates/Vol_XVII_4/page2.htm (accessed June 18, 2011).

13See http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FOIA/2004_FOIA_Report/index.asp (accessed June 20, 2011).

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