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Adams v. USDA, No. 3:10-CV-03120, 2013 WL 5218313 (W.D. Ark. Sept. 16, 2013) (Holmes, Chief J.)

Re: Requests for records concerning any food safety violations and complaints at a plant Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissing plaintiff's complaint with prejudice
  • Exemption 4: The court concludes that eight categories of information were properly withheld pursuant to Exemption 4.  "The categories of information are (1) brands, manufacturers, or names of machines and equipment used; (2) test or lab reports or results; (3) specific chemicals or agents used by the plant and/or the concentration level of a chemical/agent used; (4) line numbers; (5) sanitation standard operating procedure; (6) identity of suppliers, consultants, contractors, subcontractors, or sources; (7) hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and critical control points (CCP); and (8) details pertaining to production processes, plant layouts, and/or procedures used."  Noting that the company that submitted the information did so as "part of mandatory inspection program," the court agrees that release of the information would cause substantial harm to the company's competitive position.  "The information provides insights into its specific operations including equipment selected, production figures including the number of lines utilized, formulas, the results of various tests, plant layouts and other similar specific information developed after the expenditure of time." 
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 4
Updated August 6, 2014