October Update: Materials Added to the FOIA Reading Room

October 9th, 2017

We have added new documents from the USDA to our FOIA reading room.

Of particular interest, the USDA sent six batches of documents in response to our request for the investigative files related to the proposed suspension of Turkish organic certifier ETKO over its suspicious grain exporting activities. ETKO lost its accreditation in Europe and Canada, and career civil servants at the USDA proposed suspending their accreditation under the National Organic Program (NOP), but later, due to an appeal and intervention by legal counsel, maintained its status as a certifier under the terms of a settlement agreement reached with the former director of the NOP, Miles McEvoy. ETKO agreed to take corrective action and face additional scrutiny based on noncompliances identified by the USDA.

This is another case where European or Canadian officials took action against an alleged scofflaw and the organic industry, and the USDA took markedly more lenient action.

We have also added documents pertaining to the Hydroponics FOIA request, NOP site visits to factory farms in Texas and New Mexico back in 2013, and a request into the NOP’s enforcement practices.

After review by Cornucopia researchers, all FOIA requests and documents returned by the government can be accessed in our FOIA Reading Room.

Questions? Please contact Jason Cole at [email protected].

Correction: This post originally included an incomplete statement about ETKO’s agreement with the USDA.  The USDA issued a “Notice of Proposed Suspension” to ETKO, and upon ETKO entering into a settlement agreement with the USDA, ETKO maintained, not “regained,” its accreditation in the U.S.


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