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FOIA

FOIA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Last Modified: 11/07/2013

How do I make a FOIA request to the Agency?

You should state clearly and precisely as possible the records you seek. You should sign your request and you may address a request for records to the FNS Administrator, any Program Director listed in the FNS regulations, or the FOIA Officer.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Attn: FOIA

3101 Park Center Drive, Room 302

Alexandria, VA 22302-1500

- or -

foia@fns.usda.gov

Are there any charges for obtaining records under FOIA?

There are charges for receiving Federal records under certain circumstances. The conditions and the charges are contained in the USDA Fee Schedule.

How long does it take to receive records?

This depends on the nature of the request and the amount of search time necessary to find the records. Generally, FNS will be able to respond to the majority of FOIA requests within the 20 work days, the response time required by law.

Are there any records that are automatically denied?

Yes. There are nine categories of automatically exempted records.

If FNS denies my request can I appeal?

You may appeal your request to the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service. The process requires that an Agency official, higher in rank than the denying official, review the factual evidence for the denial and either uphold the denial or reverse the decision, partially or wholly, and prepare an appeal response. If the decision of the Agency is to uphold the denial, the USDA Office of General Counsel must concur in that decision.

Can I make a telephone request for records?

Yes, you can call in a request but you must follow-up with a written request. The reason a written request is required is that it documents exactly what is being requested and it also provides a record of the request. You may also submit requests by fax or e-mail without submitting a follow-up written request.