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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Wendell Berry, America's foremost farmer-philosopher, with horses on his farm. Courtesy of Platform Media Group hide caption

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The Gospel According To Wendell Berry, On Screen
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Boxes of white button mushrooms. Scientists have used a popular gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9 to snip out a tiny piece of DNA from one particular gene in a white button mushroom. The resulting mushroom doesn't brown when cut. Adam Fagen/Flickr hide caption

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Will Genetically 'Edited' Food Be Regulated? The Case Of The Mushroom
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Seed labels from the J.C. Robinson Seed Co. Courtesy of Rob-See-Co hide caption

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Big Seed: How The Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants
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The modern broiler, or meat chicken, grows incredibly fast. But some critics say the bird — and the flavor of its meat — may suffer as a result. Whole Foods wants all of its suppliers to shift to slower-growing chicken breeds, like this one, seen at Arkansas-based Crystal Lake Farms. Courtesy of Crystal Lake Farms hide caption

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Why Whole Foods Wants A Slower-Growing Chicken
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A mockup of a possible GMO label on a can of Campbell's Spaghetti-Os, with these words: "Partially produced with genetic engineering." Unless Congress or a federal court intervene, Vermont's new GMO labeling law will go into effect in July. So some companies are scrambling to comply. Courtesy of Campbell Soup Company hide caption

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How Little Vermont Got Big Food Companies To Label GMOs
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Workers place the berries directly into the plastic clamshell packages that shoppers will find in stores. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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In Florida, Strawberry Fields Are Not Forever
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A crop duster sprays a field with pesticides. Former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren says that he has been persecuted by the agency because his research points out problems with popular pesticides. iStockphoto hide caption

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In recent years, a pesticide called flubendiamide has been used on about 14 percent of the nation's almonds, peppers and watermelons. Now the FDA wants to revoke the chemical's conditional approval. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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This bag contains about as much caffeine as a thousand cups of coffee. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

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Caffeine For Sale: The Hidden Trade Of The World's Favorite Stimulant
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A Chipotle restaurant at Union Station in Washington, D.C. The company's food-safety troubles have provoked quite a bit of schadenfreude in the rest of the food industry. Gene J. Puskar/AP hide caption

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Chipotle's Food-Safety Woes? Don't Expect Sympathy From Rest Of Industry
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For every $1 that farmers spent on crop insurance premiums over the past 15 years, they got more than twice that much back in payouts, according to a new report. Andrew Baker/Ikon Images/Corbis hide caption

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