Crafting a FOIA request for what chemicals the USDA uses
1 answer from Michael Morisy.
From a user:
I’m not exactly sure how to go about the filing process, but here’s what I’d like to acquire: A comprehensive list of the chemicals the USDA uses to treat/fumigate imported produce and which chemicals are used on what produce coming from where. Basically, I’d like a more comprehensive version of the information found here:
So this is relatively specific off the bat, which is great. I would phrase a request for this information around this:<hr/>
Any lists maintained by the USDA that catalog, detail, or otherwise include the chemicals used to treat/fumigate imported produce and which chemicals are used on what produce coming from where.
In order to assist in the search, I believe the department that would maintain or possess this list developed this document, which contains portions of the requested material: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_imports/index.shtml
I would also like any manuals, documentation, or other written printed or electronic guidance on USDA practice and policies around fumigation and treatment of imported produce, particularly those used by USDA inspectors.<hr/>
If you register for a MuckRock community account, you can just throw that language into a request and file it directly with the USDA, and we’ll do all the tracking and follow up for you.
One (ok two) last tip:
I find it helpful to search in two places for related documents to help see what’s out there
1) DocumentCloud, which has a huge archive of documents uploaded by others: http://www.documentcloud.org/public/search/
2) Search the agency sites themselves using some advanced Google techniques. My favorite is a site-specific search mixed with a file type specific search, so Googling:
import produce fumigation site:usda.gov type:.pdf
produces interesting results: http://j.mp/13NjV9d
Hope this is helpful.