FDA: Kratom emails

Anthony Roberts filed this request with the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2018-6510

FDA1845874

Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Anthony Roberts


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

I am seeking all emails sent or received by FDA employees Lisa Capron and Lawton Lum, that mention kratom and/or salmonella, both to and from one to the other and to/from anyone else, from January 1st 2018 through August 3rd, 2018z

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Anthony Roberts

From: Food and Drug Administration

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Reference: FDA1845874
Dear Requester,
This is to confirm that you submitted a request for record(s) from the Food and Drug Administrationpursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
FOIA staff will review your request to determine whether it has sufficient information to be processed;if so, you will receive another email as a formal acknowledgement of your request, with a control number for your request. If your request is not sufficiently described,or if there are any other deficiencies with your submission, FOIA staff will contact you via telephone or email.

From: Food and Drug Administration

Note: Do NOT reply directly to this E-mail
Anthony Roberts Anthony Roberts
Re: Confirmation # FDA1845874
In Reply refer to: 2018-6510
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records regarding:
Emails sent or received by FDA employees Lisa Capron and Lawton Lum, that mention kratom and/or salmonella, both to and from one to the other and to/from anyone else, from January 1st 2018 through August 3rd, 2018
Original Subject: Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records: I am seeking all emails sent or received by FDA employees Lisa Capron and Lawton Lum, that mention kratom and/or salmonella, both to and from one to the other and to/from anyone else, from January 1st 2018 through August 3rd, 2018z The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. In the event that there are fees, I would be gratef...
We will respond as soon as possible and may charge you a fee for processing your request. If your informational needs change, and you no longer need the requested records, please contact us to cancel your request, as charges may be incurred once processing of your request has begun. For more information on processing fees, please see
http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/FOI/FOIAFees/default.htm. If you have any questions about your request, please call Rochelle A. Coleman, Information Technician at (301) 796-8982 or write to us at: (http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/FOI/FOIAFees/default.htm)
Division of Freedom of Information, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1035
Rockville, MD 20857
Fax:(301)827-9267
You also have the right to seek dispute resolution services from:
FDA FOIA Public Liaison
Office of the Executive Secretariat
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1050
Rockville, MD 20857
E-Mail: FDAFOIA@fda.hhs.gov and/or:
Office of Government Information Services
National Archives and Administration
8601 Adelphi Road ? OGIS
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 202-741-5770
Toll-Free: 1-877-684-6448
E-mail: ogis@nara.gov
Fax: 202-741-5769

From: Food and Drug Administration

Hello Anthony Roberts,
I'm contacting your for clarification of your FOI request 2018-6510 to the FDA regarding all kratom and/or salmonella emails to/from FDA employees Lisa Capron and Lawton Lum. I would just like to confirm that your FOI request is not any more specific in regards to what emails you are specifically looking for? These two FDA employees deal with a great deal of salmonella emails and the scope of all salmonella emails for this eight month period would be very large and would require an extensive amount of time to collect and review for redactions. As your FOI request stands now I estimate the review period being several weeks and involving hundreds of pages of emails. Is it possible that you are specifically seeking all salmonella emails as they pertain to kratom products and testing? This would significantly reduce the scope of the request.

Thank you for the clarification sir. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Jason Schilling, MBA
Government Information Specialist
FOIA West (Branch II)
Division of Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP)
Office of Strategic Planning and Operational Policy (OSPOP)
Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)
U. S. Food and Drug Administration

4040 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 300
Dallas, TX 75204
Office: 214-253-5262
Fax: 214-253-5314
Jason.Schilling@fda.hhs.gov<mailto:Jason.Schilling@fda.hhs.gov>

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From: Anthony Roberts

I just called and left my contact information. I’ll be unable to limit the scope of my request. It’s already limited to a specific topic, spans far less than a year, and only deals with two specific employees.

I’m looking to find context for a series of their emails that have been made public, that without context, could be (indeed are) viewed as suggesting investigatory bias.

From: Food and Drug Administration

Hello Mr. Roberts,
Thank you for the inquiry. I apologize for the delay in your FOI request response.
You can expect your FOI request response as soon as possible next week sir.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Jason Schilling, MBA
Government Information Specialist
FOIA West (Branch II)
Division of Information Disclosure Policy (DIDP)
Office of Strategic Planning and Operational Policy (OSPOP)
Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA)
U. S. Food and Drug Administration

4040 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 300
Dallas, TX 75204
Office: 214-253-5262
Fax: 214-253-5314
Jason.Schilling@fda.hhs.gov<mailto:Jason.Schilling@fda.hhs.gov>

[cid:image001.png@01D20E70.82D77510]<http://www.fda.gov/>

[cid:image002.jpg@01D20E70.82D77510]<https://www.facebook.com/FDA> [cid:image003.jpg@01D20E70.82D77510] <https://twitter.com/US_FDA> [cid:image004.jpg@01D20E70.82D77510] <http://www.youtube.com/user/USFoodandDrugAdmin> [cid:image005.jpg@01D20E70.82D77510] <http://www.flickr.com/photos/fdaphotos/> [cid:image006.jpg@01D20E70.82D77510] <http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ContactFDA/StayInformed/RSSFeeds/default.htm>

This message is intended for the exclusive use of the recipient(s) named above. It may contain Non Public Information that is proprietary, protected, privileged, or confidential, and should not be disseminated, distributed, or copied to persons not authorized to receive such information. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying is strictly prohibited. If you think you have received this message in error, please delete all copies of this message & notify the sender immediately at jason.schilling@fda.hhs.gov<mailto:jason.schilling@fda.hhs.gov>
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From: Food and Drug Administration

Dear Requester,

The Food and Drug Administration has received your request for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You are seeking "all emails sent or received by FDA employees Lisa Capron and Lawton Lum, that mention kratom and/or salmonella, both to and from one to the other and to/from anyone else, from January 1st 2018 through August 3rd, 2018." On August 20, Mr. Jason Schilling of FDA contacted you to explain that due to the nature of Ms. Capron and Mr. Lum's work, they have a large volume of emails involving salmonella that would require an extensive amount of time to collect and review for public release. Mr. Schilling further asked you if you were willing to limit your request to salmonella emails as they pertain to kratom products and testing, rather than salmonella emails that pertain to any kind of product and testing. By email dated August 24, you stated you are unable to limit the scope of your request.

We are denying your request as not reasonably described and unduly burdensome. A proper FOIA request for records must reasonably describe the records sought. See 5 USC 552(a)(3)(A); see also 21 CFR 20.50 (2017). As we have explained, Ms. Capron and Mr. Lum send and receive a large volume of emails that reference salmonella every day. Mr. Lum is the Compliance Branch Director of the Division of West Coast Imports; there are 20 compliance officers reporting to him. Therefore, on a daily basis, Mr. Lum sends and receives many emails where Salmonella is mentioned. Ms. Capron is an import compliance officer. Her daily work consists largely of reviewing entries of food products that are potentially contaminated with microbacterium, such as salmonella. As a result, she maintains a large volume of emails with internal and external customers about the potentially contaminated entries.

Courts have consistently held that the FOIA does not require agencies to conduct "unreasonably burdensome" searches for records. See, e.g., National Magazine v. US Customs Service, 71 F.3d 885, 892 (D.C. Cir. 1995). We encourage you to reconsider what records you actually need to achieve your information goals and resubmit your request for those records. For example, you may want to consider reducing the timeframe or providing certain product names to limit the scope.

You have the right to appeal this determination. By filing an appeal, you preserve your rights under FOIA and give the agency a chance to review and reconsider your request and the agency's decision.

Your appeal must be mailed within 90 days from the date of this response, to:

Deputy Agency Chief FOIA Officer

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

Room 729H

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20201

Please clearly mark both the envelope and your letter "FDA Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

If you would like to discuss our response before filing an appeal to attempt to resolve your dispute without going through the appeals process, please contact me at 301-796-8976 or Sarah.Kotler@fda.hhs.gov. You may also contact the FDA FOIA Public Liaison for assistance at:

Office of the Executive Secretariat

US Food & Drug Administration

5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1050

Rockville, MD 20857

E-mail: FDAFOIA@fda.hhs.gov<mailto:FDAFOIA@fda.hhs.gov>

If you are unable to resolve your FOIA dispute through our FOIA Public Liaison, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), the Federal FOIA Ombudsman's office, offers mediation services to help resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies. The contact information for OGIS is:

Office of Government Information Services
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Telephone: 202-741-5770

Toll-Free: 1-877-684-6448

E-mail: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>

Fax: 202-741-5769

Sincerely,

Sarah B. Kotler, J.D.
Director
Office of the Executive Secretariat
Division of Freedom of Information
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Tel: 301-796-8976
Sarah.Kotler@fda.hhs.gov<mailto:Sarah.Kotler@fda.hhs.gov>

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