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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Harvesting sweet potatoes: Workers sort the 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 six or seven 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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Lettuce grows in a field in Gonzales, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has released new food safety rules that cover farmers who grow fresh produce, as well as food importers. David Paul Morris/Getty Images hide caption

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A bottle of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide in a gardening store in Lille, France. A group convened by the European Food Safety Agency reviewed the available scientific data on the chemical, also known as glyphosate, and concluded that it probably does not cause cancer. Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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An illustration of rinderpest in the Netherlands in the 18th century. Europeans once feared the cattle virus as much as they did the Black Death. Jacobus Eussen/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers. The company is now sourcing some of its pork from a British supplier that uses antibiotics to treat pigs when ill. Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and longtime critic of antibiotic overuse on farms, welcomes this shift in Chipotle's stance on the drugs. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Jose Martinez in the Adams County, Pa., orchard where he's working this year. He's been coming to the county for the apple harvest for the past 13 years. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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The Salt

Inside The Life Of An Apple Picker

It's apple-picking time. For some of us, that's casual recreation. For tens of thousands of people, though, it's a paycheck — and one stop in a migratory life.

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Diners wait in line at a Subway sandwich shop on September 15, 2015 in Chicago, Ill. Subway will serve antibiotic-free turkey and chicken by the end of 2016, but it may take nine years for its suppliers of beef and pork to go antibiotic-free as well. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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While schools are spending more on local food, it still makes up only a small portion of the average school meal. Here, a chicken salad at the cafeteria at Draper Middle School in Rotterdam, N.Y., in 2012. Hans Pennink/AP hide caption

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Perdue, the poultry giant, acquired the Niman Ranch name and reputation of raising animals without antibiotics in September. John Greim/Universal Images Group/Getty Images hide caption

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A worker pours a bucket of pesticide into a machine to be sprayed on almond trees at Del Bosque Farms Inc. in Firebaugh, Calif., on April 6, 2015. California and Washington already have adopted, through state regulation, many of the rules that the EPA now wants to put in place nationwide. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images hide caption

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