Larger Stores in USDA Food Atlas for Napa County

John Poole filed this request with the Department of Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences - FNCS of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2017-FNS-02452-F

Status
Rejected

Communications

From: John Poole

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Please provide the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California.

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,

John Poole

From: Hutchison, Stasia

John Poole
via MuckRock

This is to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 16, 2016, addressed to Shelly Ver Ploeg, Economic Research Service (ERS), for information concerning the Food Atlas. Because this office administers the FOIA for ERS, your request was forwarded to this office for processing. Your request was received in this office on November 16 and assigned FOIA No. 2017-REE-00715-F.

Specifically, you requested:

the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California.

We are currently processing your request and hope to respond to your request by January 4. If you have any questions concerning your request, please contact this office at 202-815-2913 or stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>. You may also contact our FOIA Public Liaison or FOIA Requester Service Center at 301-504-1743 or REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov<mailto:REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov>.

Sincerely,

Stasia Hutchison

Stasia Hutchison
FOIA/PA Officer, REE, USDA
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
GWCC, Room 1-2248, Mail Stop 5128
Beltsville, MD 20705-5128
stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>
301-504-1655 (w) 301-504-1647 (fax)
Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Reference Guide<http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=1398>

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Hutchison, Stasia

John Poole
via MuckRock

This is an interim response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 16, 2016, addressed to Shelly Ver Ploeg, Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for information concerning the Food Access Research Atlas. Because this office administers the FOIA for ERS, your request was forwarded to this office for processing. Your request was received in this office on November 16 and assigned FOIA No. 2017-REE-00715-F.

Specifically, you requested:

the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California.

The stores used in the Food Access Research Atlas come from a combination of two independent directories of food retail stores in the United States:

* USDA's Store Tracking and Redemption System (STARS), which contains all stores authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits

* TDLinx's directory of food retail stores

Because it was determined that information responsive to your request was obtained through USDA's STARS, your request has been referred to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) FOIA Office for processing. The contact information for the FNS FOIA Office is:

FOOD, NUTRITION & CONSUMER SERVICES <http://www.fns.usda.gov/foia/>

Jennifer Weatherly
FOIA/PA Officer
3010 Park Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302
Tel. 703-605-0773
Fax 703-605-0793
Email: FOIA@fns.usda.gov<mailto:FOIA@fns.usda.gov>

This office is currently processing the part of your request concerning information obtained through the TDLinx and hopes to provide our response to you by January 19.

If you have any questions concerning your request, please contact this office at 202-815-2913 or stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>. You may also contact our FOIA Public Liaison or FOIA Requester Service Center at 301-504-1743 or REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov<mailto:REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov>.

Sincerely,

Stasia Hutchison

Stasia Hutchison
FOIA/PA Officer, REE, USDA
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
GWCC, Room 1-2248, Mail Stop 5128
Beltsville, MD 20705-5128
stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>
301-504-1655 (w) 301-504-1647 (fax)
Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Reference Guide<http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=1398>

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Hutchison, Stasia

John Poole
via MuckRock

This is in final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated November 16, 2016, addressed to Shelly Ver Ploeg, Economic Research Service (ERS), for information concerning the Food Atlas. Because this office administers the FOIA for ERS, your request was forwarded to this office for processing. Your request was received in this office on November 16 and assigned FOIA No. 2017-REE-00715-F.

Specifically, you requested:

the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California.

As explained in our response dated January 4, 2017, the stores used in the Food Access Research Atlas come from a combination of two independent directories of food retail stores in the United States:

* USDA's Store Tracking and Redemption System (STARS), which contains all stores authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
* TDLinx's directory of food retail stores

The majority of stores are matched in both directories (same store name and address/geocode). Where a store is found only in the TDLinx directory, the channel, subchannel and total sales data are used to determine if a store is a supermarket, supercenter or large grocery store. When a store is found only in STARS, the store type is used to determine whether it is included in the combined directory. The three STARS store types used are the Supermarket (SM), Superstore (SS) and Large Grocery (LG). When questionable cases arise (e.g. a chain store does not fit in the store types and grocery channels of focus, or an unknown store name fits the channel/store types of focus) manual review is conducted through Google internet searches and inspection of store advertising. The following provides the STARS store definitions used in Food Access Research Atlas:

Superstores/supercenters - very large supermarkets, "big box" stores, superstores and food warehouses primarily engaged in retail sale of a wide variety of grocery and other store merchandise.
Supermarkets - establishments commonly known as supermarkets, food stores, grocery stores and food warehouses primarily engaged in retail sale of an extensive variety of grocery and other store merchandise, with ten or more checkout lanes with registers, barcode scanners, and conveyor belts.
Large grocery stores - carry a wide selection of the 4 staple food categories.

As explained in our response dated January 4, because it was determined that information responsive to your request was obtained through USDA's STARS, your request was referred to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) FOIA Office for processing. The contact information for the FNS FOIA Office is:

FOOD, NUTRITION & CONSUMER SERVICES <http://www.fns.usda.gov/foia/>
Jennifer Weatherly
FOIA/PA Officer
3010 Park Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302
Tel. 703-605-0773
Fax 703-605-0793
Email: FOIA@fns.usda.gov<mailto:FOIA@fns.usda.gov>

The TDLinx data that were used by ERS to publish its Food Access Research Atlas were purchased from The Nielsen Company, Inc. Information about these stores, including their names, addresses, and longitude & latitude coordinates, cannot be released by ERS under ERS' terms use agreement with The Nielsen Company, which states that "...acquired information are confidential and trade secret business information of The Nielsen Company and may not be disclosed outside the USDA and not releasable under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended)." The TDLinx data are considered confidential and trade secret business information and are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4). Exemption 4 protects trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged and confidential. If you are not satisfied with the response to this request, you may administratively appeal our determination by writing to the Administrator, ERS, USDA, Mailstop 1800, Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building, 14th & Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0002. The appeal must be received by that office within 90 days of the date of this letter. The phrase "FOIA Appeal" should be placed in capital letters on the front of the envelope containing the appeal.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact this office at 301-504-1655 or stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>. You may also contact our FOIA Public Liaison or FOIA Requester Service Center at 301-504-1743 or REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov<mailto:REEFOIA@ars.usda.gov>. Additionally, you may contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration to inquire about the FOIA mediation services they offer. The contact information for OGIS is: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001; ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>; 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769.

Sincerely,

Stasia Hutchison

Stasia Hutchison
FOIA/PA Officer, REE, USDA
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
GWCC, Room 1-2248, Mail Stop 5128
Beltsville, MD 20705-5128
stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov<mailto:stasia.hutchison@ars.usda.gov>
301-504-1655 (w) 301-504-1647 (fax)
Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Reference Guide<http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=1398>

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

This request was forwarded to your office for further processing. Confirmation of receipt, a tracking number, and an estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
_________________

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

For reference, please find below a copy of the FOIA request that was forwarded to your office. Confirmation of receipt and a tracking number would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and help.
_____________________

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Please provide the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California.

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,

John Poole

From: John Poole

I am not asking for the information purchased from The Nielsen Company, Inc. I am simply asking the USDA to identify which stores the USDA selected that are ranked as "Superstores/supercenters , supermarkets, or Large grocery stores" by name, address, and coordinates within the county of Napa.

From:

From: FOIA - FNS

Mr. Poole,
We apologize for the delay with your request. Your request was referred to us from REE and we were making sure that the information you are seeking is with FNS. Our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are reviewing and processing your request. We hope to have a response to you soon.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Jennifer

Jennifer Weatherly
FNS FOIA and Privacy Act Officer
Information Management Office
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
(703) 605-0773
jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov<mailto:jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov>

From: FOIA - FNS

Mr. John Poole
MuckRock
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Poole:

This is in response to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) received by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on March 01, 2017. Your request was forwarded to FNS for processing and was assigned FOIA # 2017-FNS-02452-F. In your e-mail, you requested the following:

"provide the store names, addresses, longitude & latitude coordinates, of the "larger stores where you can get all the food groups and that have more than $2 million in annual sales" used in the USDA's Food Atlas and in the layers "Low Income & Low Access" and "Component layers," at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx and limited for the County of Napa, State of California."

The requested store names, store addresses, and longitude and latitude coordinates of large stores with greater than $2 million in annual sales where you can get all the food groups in the County of Napa, California is being withheld in full under 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) (FOIA Exemption 4). FOIA Exemption 4, protects from public disclosure trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person or entity that is privileged or confidential. FOIA Exemption 4 protects the interests of the businesses that submit proprietary information to the Government and the interests of the Government in receiving continued access to such information. Retail sales data constitutes confidential business information and disclosure could result in significant competitive harm to the retailer.

The requested store names, store addresses, and longitude and latitude coordinates of large stores with greater than $2 million in annual sales is also being withheld in full under 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (FOIA Exemption 6). FOIA Exemption 6 permits the government to withhold information when the disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. While the privacy interests under FOIA Exemption 6 pertain only to individuals, closely held corporations or similar business entities are an exception to this principle.

Whether information is requested through FNS or through a State Agency, all parties are subject to information sharing requirements at 7 USC § 2018(c) and 7 CFR § 278.1(q).

You have the right to appeal this determination. You may appeal by writing to the Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service at 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302 or by email to FOIA@fns.usda.gov<mailto:FOIA@fns.usda.gov> within 90 calendar days from the date of this letter. The phrase "FOIA APPEAL" should be placed in capital letters on the front of the envelope or in the subject of the email containing the appeal.

For dispute resolution services, you may contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). The Open Government Act of 2007 created OGIS within the National Archives and Records Administration when Congress amended the FOIA. OGIS provides mediation of FOIA disputes between appellants and Federal agencies. Participation in mediation does not affect your right to judicial review. Contact information for OGIS can be located at: www.Archives.gov/ogis<http://www.Archives.gov/ogis>.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Weatherly
FNS FOIA and Privacy Act Officer
Information Management Office
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
(703) 605-0773
jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov<mailto:jennifer.weatherly@fns.usda.gov>

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