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Jonathan Kaplan, Director, Food and Agriculture Program, San Francisco

Jonathan Kaplan
I direct NRDC’s new Food and Agriculture program. In the old days, when people asked me what I did at NRDC I used to say “I’m the food and ag guy.” But now we have a whole team of people working on this critical issue! NRDC’s Food and Agriculture program focuses on reducing the health and environmental impacts from our food system, while promoting more sustainable alternatives. My own issue areas include pesticide use reduction, livestock antibiotic use reduction, and the promotion of farming methods that work with the natural environment instead of against it. In recent years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with industry leaders to find common ground and leverage the purchasing power of large food buyers to reward change. That means I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about standards and metrics to help us identify “sustainable” food in commerce. I also help our team advance legislation, litigation and strategic communications. And once every now and then I manage to post some thoughts below.

Recent Posts

FDA data suggest more antibiotics used per pound of meat produced

Posted October 3, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment

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Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration put out long awaited numbers showing total sales of antibiotics sold for livestock use in 2012 (yes, it takes a while for FDA to collect and publish these numbers).  The main finding is that...continued

Vetoing Bill, Governor Brown Calls for Stronger Medicine to Curb Antibiotic Resistance

Posted September 30, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan

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Last night, California’s Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 835, a bill passed by the state legislature that would have replicated a flawed FDA policy for curbing some uses of antibiotics in livestock production.  In an act of real leadership, the...continued

This time it's Listeria on Foster Farms chicken

Posted September 30, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan

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Every time I read about a new safety failure at Foster Farms, I get more worried about the company’s use of antibiotics.   In January, NRDC and other public interest groups asked Foster Farms to commit to antibiotic stewardship practices and...continued

Reuters: "Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks"

Posted September 15, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Living Sustainably

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An in-depth investigation by Reuters, published today, confirms that the U.S. chicken industry is still reliant on a steady stream of antibiotics.   Did we already know that?  Yes, and no.  FDA tracks total sales of antibiotics approved for livestock use,...continued

Disclosed USDA Documents Show "Fecal Failures" and other recent violations at Foster Farms' chicken plants

Posted September 11, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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Today NRDC posted hundreds of noncompliance reports written by USDA food safety inspectors at Foster Farms plants around the country between September 2013 and March of this year.  Most of the violations found were incredibly unsavory and include more than...continued

Great news from Perdue Farms on reducing antibiotics

Posted September 3, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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 Let’s stand up and give a round of applause to Perdue Farms today.  The third largest poultry producer in the U.S. just announced that it is now raising 95% of its birds without antibiotics that are important to human medicine. ...continued

California Legislators Approve Weak Legislation to Curb Livestock Antibiotic Use

Posted August 12, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment

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Yesterday the California Assembly followed the state’s Senate in approving a very modest bill to address the problem of antibiotic use in the livestock sector.   SB 835 (Hill) may make a very small dent, if any, in reducing the routine...continued

Really?! Foster Farms chicken STILL spreading antibiotic resistant Salmonella

Posted May 27, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported today that the outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to Foster Farms chicken is still making people sick.   That’s stunning given the fact that this outbreak has been going on for over 14...continued

World Health Organization sounds alarm over antibiotic resistant bacteria while Foster Farms seems to still be spreading them on its chicken

Posted April 30, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Living Sustainably

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Yesterday the World Health Organization issued a landmark 256 page assessment of the antibiotic resistant bacteria that now roam the globe.  The upshot:  “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which...continued

Meet the four most inspiring sustainable food leaders on May 14

Posted April 28, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Living Sustainably

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NRDC partners with Berkeley Food Institute to co-host Growing Green Awards 2014Tickets for Berkeley celebration available now By Andrea Spacht and Jonathan Kaplan Here in the Food and Agriculture Program, we’ve been busy as bees preparing for another exciting Growing...continued

Groups to Foster Farms: Come Clean on Antibiotics

Posted January 13, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment

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Company makes promises on cockroaches and Salmonella, but no pledge to prevent antibiotic resistant bacteria Foster Farms has been in the news lately because the company was linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people last year.  Last...continued

How did that MRSA get on my shopping cart?

Posted July 25, 2013 by Jonathan Kaplan in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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Science Journal Nature Sounds the Alarm On Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Coming from Feedlots   Science journals typically report emerging scientific research without getting into a lot of advocacy.  But the prestigious journal Nature stepped out of that role this week...continued

Needed Farm Bill Reforms Take Shape

Posted May 14, 2013 by Jonathan Kaplan in Health and the Environment

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Every five years or so Congress revisits our nation’s food and agriculture policies and right now its Farm Bill season again.  The Farm Bill is sweeping legislation that touches on everything from nutrition programs to energy development, to environmental conservation...continued

Kansas City Star "Drug overuse in cattle imperils human health"

Posted December 10, 2012 by Jonathan Kaplan in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment

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  Here at NRDC we consider ourselves seasoned experts when it comes to the problem of antibiotic misuse in animal agriculture.  But Mike McCraw’s investigative reporting of this issue today in the Kansas City Star is a real eye opener...continued

Disclosed: FDA's confidential strategy memos on (not) regulating antibiotics in livestock

Posted October 23, 2012 by Jonathan Kaplan in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably

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In private, agency sounds less confident about its voluntary approach in lieu of binding regulatory action It’s hard to explain the significance of newly disclosed FDA memos without first providing a refresher on the problem of antibiotics use in livestock:...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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