FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Getting into the weeds

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  The EPA denied my request for the "other" ingredients on a generic Glyphosate product label.  I was injured by this product, but EPA has determined that the information is confidential.  

A.  A product's formula may very well be protected under Exemption 4 as a trade secret or confidential business information.  A trade secret, for example, has been held by the D.C. Circuit to mean "a secret, commercially valuable plan, formula, process, or device that is used for the making, preparing, compounding, or processing of trade commodities and that can be said to be the end product of either innovation or substantial effort."  Public Citizen Health Research Group v. FDA, 704 F.2d 1280, 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1983).

For additional guidance on Exemption 4, you might wish to consult the U.S. Department of Justice's Guide to the Freedom of Information Act.