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FMI Rejects Legislation To Overturn Supreme Court Decision

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Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 03:15 pm

FMI – The Food Industry Association strongly opposes legislation, the Open and Responsive Government Act, introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley, Patrick Leahy and Dianne Feinstein. Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO, offered comment: 

“In 2019, FMI sought to protect the confidentiality of store-level sales data for retailers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media (6-3 decision) clarified the Freedom of Information Act’s (FOIA) Exemption 4 to prevent the disclosure of confidential commercial information that would put businesses at competitive disadvantages. Unfortunately, this bill would bring back the complex test that was rejected by every member of the Supreme Court. Legislative history tells us FOIA was created to shine a light on actions by the government, not on that of private parties.”

“Our industry’s commitment to the shopper remains constant amidst seismic marketplace shifts. The nation’s grocery stores have long kept confidential the amount consumers spend at individual stores whether through payment by cash, credit, debit or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This store-level sales data collected by the government to facilitate these benefits remains undoubtedly confidential because its release would provide an unfair advantage to competitors – particularly those without brick-and-mortar locations in the area.”  

For more information on the Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media decision, see FMI.org/SCOTUS

As the food industry association, FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. FMI brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry. 

On behalf of the food industry, FMI recently praised California officials for clarifying that grocery workers are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. See story, here.

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