The National Grocers Association (NGA) president and CEO Peter Larkin testified in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this week in Argus Leader Media vs United States Department of Agriculture as a witness for the USDA. Larkin testified on behalf of USDA as a supermarket expert and representative of the independent supermarket industry. NGA has long maintained that a retailer’s SNAP store data should remain private as the data contains proprietary store sales information that could be used by competitors to cause harm.
Larkin testified that ensuring the confidentiality of retailer SNAP redemption information is especially important for independent supermarkets that are by their very nature, private businesses, and would be harmed by having their confidential proprietary store sales data made public. Additionally, if released, competitors would likely use this proprietary sales information to target and ultimately harm these community based supermarkets.
In August 2011, the Argus Leader sued USDA for annual SNAP store sales data after USDA denied a Freedom of Information Request for the data. NGA submitted extensive comments to USDA in September 2014 in response to a USDA request for information regarding the release of retailer store transaction data. NGA strongly supports the continued adherence to USDA’s policy, adopted in 1978, that prohibited the disclosure of sales / redemption information submitted by retailers except for purposes directly connected with the administration and enforcement of the Food Stamp Act (now Food and Nutrition Act).