Any records that the USDA has in its possession may become publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Inspectors will review a facility’s written program of veterinary care and any associated medical records during an inspection, but the records typically remain in the possession of the facility. Inspectors do NOT retain veterinary records for any facility.
One exception is if a citation is issued in response to a routine inspection or a complaint. In this case, supporting documentation may be copied to document the citation. Those records would be uploaded to the USDA inspection database as part of the citation. Because these records would now be in our possession, they are subject to disclosure under specific requests per FOIA.
FOIA requests are fulfilled following redaction of any personally identifying information.