The Good Food Institute exists to create a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply. That task is much more difficult when innovative food companies aren’t facing a level playing field.
Right now, well-funded farm promotion programs have little to no accountability or transparency, leaving them plenty of space to act in ways that are illegal and anticompetitive.
In fact, it’s been nearly a year since the American Egg Board was caught unlawfully engaging in a smear campaign against sustainable food company Hampton Creek, and the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service still refuses to disclose all of the details.
Because of this, GFI filed three Freedom of Information Act requests in search of more information about the case, such as the American Egg Board’s budget and meeting minutes. The USDA gave us the same old information that had already been revealed and refused to disclose anything else.
So today, Monday, August 8, we are suing the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services. Allowing these government programs to have immunity to records requests will almost certainly have a chilling effect on innovation in food and agriculture, and we can’t let that happen.
There is no legal basis for the agency to sweep this kind of information under the rug, and we believe that the public deserves to know the full story behind the American Egg Board campaign against Hampton Creek.
Improvements in the food system need space to take root without illegal interference from Big Ag, and we need those improvements to come as soon as possible. Conventional animal agriculture is the leading cause of some of the most pressing problems of our time, from climate change and environmental degradation to antibiotic resistance and heart disease. The government should be helping companies that are focused on solving these problems, not hindering them.
To learn more about GFI’s work to promote food system change, visit our website.