Dan Charles i
Maggie Starbard/NPR
Dan Charles
Maggie Starbard/NPR

Dan Charles

Correspondent, Food and Agriculture

Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.

Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.

This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.

During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.

In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.

The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.

Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.

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The USDA has found salmonella on about a quarter of all cut-up chicken parts heading for supermarket shelves. It's a good reason to handle raw chicken carefully, wash your hands afterward, and cook the meat well. Sandor Weisz/Flickr hide caption

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A farmer deposits harvested corn outside a grain elevator in Virginia, Ill., in 2015. Corn and soy have fallen, and farmers are receiving payments under a new program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that total government aid to farmers will swell to $23.9 billion in 2017. Seth Perlman/AP hide caption

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Harvesting oranges near Arcadia, Fla. The sacks that workers carry weigh about 90 pounds when they are full of fruit. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Currently, only about 10 percent of egg-laying chickens in the U.S. live in cage-free houses like the one seen in this photo. Courtesy of Big Dutchman, Inc. hide caption

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One of the banana plants in the collection at the USDA's Tropical Agriculture Research Station in Puerto Rico. It's just one of many banana collections around the world that might just hold the key to stopping a fungus's deadly reach. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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A man scans a voucher code in with his smartphone. Some food companies use labels like this to provide details about ingredients and manufacturing processes to consumers. iStockphoto hide caption

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Cattle graze in a field near Sacramento, Calif. California Gov. Jerry Brown, along with many health advocacy groups, has called the overuse of antibiotics "an urgent public health problem." Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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A Chipotle Mexican Grill was closed in Boston on Tuesday. According to a Boston College spokesman, 120 students have gotten sick after eating at the fast-food chain. Scott Eisen/Getty Images hide caption

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Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, in his company's greenhouse in Lower Makefield Township, Pa. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Cocoa pods in Ivory Coast, one of the world's top producers of cocoa. Climate models suggest that West Africa, where much of the world's cocoa is grown, will get drier, which could affect supply. Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Soybeans are sprayed in Iowa in 2013. Enlist Duo is a mixture of two chemicals that farmers have used separately for many years: glyphosate (also known as Roundup) and 2,4-D. The new formulation is intended to work hand-in-hand with a new generation of corn and soybean seeds that are genetically engineered to tolerate sprays of both herbicides. Charlie Neibergall/AP hide caption

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Workers sort potatoes in the field, collecting small and large ones in different buckets. Each bucket weighs 30 pounds or so. A worker will shoulder that bucket and dump it into a flatbed truck 400 to 500 times a day. It's a daily load of 6 or 7 tons of sweet potatoes. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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AquaBounty's salmon (rear) have been genetically modified to grow to market size in about half the time as a normal salmon — 16 to 18 months, rather than three years. MCT /Landov hide caption

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