Keep Food Legal, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, has filed a petition under the New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), seeking an order compelling the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to respond to its allegedly unaddressed requests for “records and documents on various, proposed, or enjoined food-related regulations or policies to which the Mayor’s Office had some relationship, influence, or administrative role.” Keep Food Legal v. Office of the Mayor, No. n/a (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cnty., filed October 4, 2013). The petition outlines the requests that it made under FOIL since July 2012 and alleges that the city failed to respond within statutory deadlines.
According to Keep Food Legal’s Website, the materials sought relate to “the development of New York City’s most restrictive food laws and regulations, including the city’s trans fat ban; mandatory menu labeling law; restaurant letter grade system; ban on providing food meant for the homeless and less fortunate; restriction on urban gardens and farmers markets; and currently enjoined soda ban.” Executive Director Baylen Linnekin said of the lawsuit, “Keep Food Legal believes that New York City residents and Americans around the country who support a person’s right to make their own food choices want and deserve to know which activists, groups, and government bodies in New York City and around the country—including in Washington—have been involved in shaping the Bloomberg administration’s food policies.”
The organization refers to itself as a nationwide membership organization with limited resources; its board includes Cornell University’s Brian Wansink and Reason.com Editor Nick Gillespie. Its communications director, Jackson Kuhl, formerly served as the senior producer and sci-tech producer for FOXNews.com. Linnekin frequently takes a libertarian approach to food regulatory issues and has spoken before Federalist Society, American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation audiences. See Keep Food Legal News Release, October 7, 2013.