WASHINGTON – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) launched a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration over withholding agency data regarding the sale of antibiotics for use in food animals.
The group filed the lawsuit after FDA “failed to respond properly” to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking data regarding the amount of antibiotics sold for use in food animals in 2009, classified by animal type and dosage information.

“The FDA frequently claims that documents sought through the FOIA process contain 'confidential commercial information,’” said Jeff Gulley, GAP Food & Public Health counsel. “When tested in court, however, these claims frequently don’t hold up. This response by FDA is a violation of FOIA and a wrongful withholding of agency records.”

GAP made the FOIA request in 2011, but FDA ultimately denied the group’s request on claims the requested data contains confidential commercial information. The group said it has exhausted all other means of obtaining the data and has turned to litigation.

"These data will help public health researchers decipher how the industry's antibiotic use erodes the effectiveness of these life-saving drugs," said Keeve Nachman, Ph.D., director of the Farming for the Future program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which has served as a scientific adviser to GAP on the request and lawsuit.

FDA has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.