The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
UC Davis Sued for Failing to Release Public Records on GMOs and Pesticides
Consumer group U.S. Right to Know filed a lawsuit Wednesday to compel the University of California, Davis to comply with requests for public records related to the university's work on genetically engineered food, pesticides and its relationship with the agrichemical industry.
Since Jan. 28, 2015, U.S. Right to Know has filed 17 public records requests with UC Davis as allowed under the California Public Records Act, but the university has provided a total of merely 751 pages in response to all of these requests, while similar requests at other universities have yielded thousands of pages each.
UC Davis has provided no estimate of when it will comply with the unfilled requests, as required by law. It originally estimated production of documents in April 2015. It has completed only one response—regarding the soda industry—but none of the 16 requests related to the agrichemical industry.
"We are conducting a wide-ranging investigation into the collaboration between the food and agrichemical industries, their front groups and several U.S. universities," Gary Ruskin, co-director of U.S. Right to Know, said.
"So far, documents obtained from other universities have shown secretive funding arrangements and covert efforts to use taxpayer-funded university resources to promote the products of various corporations. The public has a right to know what is going on behind the scenes."
To underscore the agrichemical industry's unease about U.S. Right to Know's public records requests, a law firm that is allied with the agrichemical industry, Markowitz Herbold, has taken the unusual step of filing a public records request for all of U.S. Right to Know's correspondence with UC Davis, including the responses to all public records requests.
More than 50 years ago, on July 4, 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) into law.
"Fifty years later, FOIA is a crucial tool for uncovering corruption, wrongdoing, abuse of power and to protect consumers and public health," Ruskin said. The California Public Records Act is the California state version of the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The plaintiff for the lawsuit is Gary Ruskin, in his capacity as co-director of U.S. Right to Know.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.