Dan Charles

Dan Charles appears in the following:

Under Attack, Commodity Promotion Programs Try To Hide Their Emails

Monday, May 02, 2016

Federal programs that collect money from farmers in order to promote pork, beef and eggs have been under attack. They now want to exempt their documents from the Freedom of Information Act.


The Gospel According To Wendell Berry, On Screen

Sunday, April 24, 2016

America's foremost farmer-philosopher, Wendell Berry, is the subject of a new documentary. It celebrates the writer's work, and the rural community in Kentucky in which he's rooted.


Will Genetically 'Edited' Food Be Regulated? The Case Of The Mushroom

Friday, April 15, 2016

The U.S. is trying to figure out whether, and how, to regulate crops that have had their genes "edited." One example: a mushroom that doesn't brown when cut. It could be the first of many such crops.


Big Seed: How The Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Over the past century, small-town seed businesses have given way to global enterprises. The story of one small seed company in Nebraska helps explain what drove the transformation.


Why Whole Foods Wants A Slower-Growing Chicken

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A modern broiler, or meat chicken, grows incredibly fast. The bird suffers as a result, and some critics say its flavor does too. Now Whole Foods wants its suppliers to shift to slower-growing breeds.


How Little Vermont Got Big Food Companies To Label GMOs

Sunday, March 27, 2016

In the coming weeks, major brands including General Mills, Kellogg and Mars will start labeling foods produced with genetic engineering. That's all because of a Vermont law set to take effect July 1.


In Florida, Strawberry Fields Are Not Forever

Monday, March 21, 2016

March is a pivotal time in the world of strawberries. Production shifts westward, to California. In Florida, thousands of men and women who pick strawberries are moving on to other work.


How Free Are USDA Scientists To Speak Their Mind?

Friday, March 04, 2016

For the past several years, a scientist in Brookings, S.D., has been engaged in an escalating struggle with his employer, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. The scientist, Jonathan Lundgren, says that he has been persecuted because his research points out problems — including harm to bees — with a ...


In An Unusual Move, The EPA Tries To Pull A Pesticide From Market

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Chances are, you've never heard of flubendiamide. It's not among the most toxic insecticides, and it's not among the widely used chemicals, either. In recent years, it has been used on about a quarter of the nation's tobacco and 14 percent of almonds, peppers and watermelons.

But flubendiamide is now ...


Is Nutritious Food In Peril, Along With Pollinators?

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Here's an exercise in deductive logic, with implications for our food supply.

Fact: Insects such as bees and butterflies are helpful, and sometimes essential, for producing much of our food, including a majority of our fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Fact: Many of these pollinators, especially wild ones such as ...


Caffeine For Sale: The Hidden Trade Of The World's Favorite Stimulant

Friday, February 26, 2016

Millions of people want caffeine removed from their coffee. Millions more want caffeine added to their soda. Little-known caffeine factories, scattered across the world, satisfy both desires.


Chipotle's Food-Safety Woes? Don't Expect Sympathy From Rest Of Industry

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Chipotle Mexican Grill certainly is not the first company to face lawsuits and subpoenas because its food made people sick. Other companies, in fact, have faced far worse: Companies like Blue Bell, Dole and Earthbound Farms have been linked to disease outbreaks that actually killed people.

But it's difficult to ...


Buy Crop Insurance, Double Your Money

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Deep in the heart of the arcane laws that give farmers a helping hand, there's something called "crop insurance." It's a huge program, costing taxpayers anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion each year.

It's called an insurance program, and it looks like insurance. Farmers buy policies from private companies ...


The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It took Sen. Ted Cruz to finally persuade me to answer a riddle that's bothered me for years. Suppose somebody yanked away the law that currently props up the nation's ethanol industry, as Cruz has proposed. What would actually happen?

Before we get to the answer, let me mention why ...


USDA Imposes Stricter Limit On Salmonella Bacteria In Poultry Products

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The USDA says it will prevent 50,000 cases of illness each year. Skeptics say the agency needs to take a different approach to the salmonella problem because the current one has not worked very well.


Farm Subsidies Persist And Grow, Despite Talk Of Reform

Monday, February 01, 2016

Farm subsidies don't lack for critics. Free-market conservatives and welfare state-defending liberals alike have called for deep cuts in these payments to farmers. After all, farmers, as a group, are wealthier than the average American. Why should they get tens of billions of dollars each year in federal aid?

Two ...


Guest Workers, Legal Yet Not Quite Free, Pick Florida's Oranges

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Most workers who are picking oranges in Florida are temporary "guest" workers from Mexico. They have signed contracts to work only for growers who arranged their visas and provide their housing.


Most U.S. Egg Producers Are Now Choosing Cage-Free Houses

Friday, January 15, 2016

The majority of American egg producers, when they order new chicken houses, are choosing cage-free systems. That's a sea change driven by consumer demand for cage-free eggs.


Our Favorite Banana May Be Doomed; Can New Varieties Replace It?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Cavendish banana and other beloved varieties are threatened by a fungus that's spreading around the world. Scientists are trying to find new varieties that will be resistant to the disease.


Campbell Soup Switches Sides In The GMO Labeling Fight

Friday, January 08, 2016

The fight over genetically modified food, or GMOs, has long resembled battles on the Western Front in World War I. Pro-GMO and anti-GMO forces have aimed plenty of heavy artillery at each other, but neither well-entrenched side has given much ground.

This week, though, for perhaps the first time, a ...