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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

More Good News from Perdue Farms about Antibiotics

Posted July 8, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

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Today Perdue Farms--the fourth largest chicken producer in the United States--announced that more than half of their birds are now raised completely without antibiotics, setting another precedent as it leads the broiler industry away from reliance on these essential drugs....continued

BREAKING: Foster Farms Announces Antibiotic Use Reduction in Chicken Production; Sets Goal for Eliminating Antibiotics Essential to Human Health

Posted June 1, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

More than a year after NRDC and 31 other public interest groups called on Foster Farms to eliminate routine use of antibiotics, the chicken giant announced today that it has made significant progress and set a goal (but no timeline)...continued

Foster Farms take steps on antibiotic stewardship, but more improvement is needed

Posted May 12, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

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It's been big year for antibiotic stewardship in the poultry industry. Tyson and Perdue, ranked #1 and #4 respectively in the industry by size, have declared that they have already or soon will eliminate the routine use of antibiotics that...continued

McDonald's USA commits to chicken without antibiotics important in human medicine

Posted March 4, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

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The battle between humans and antibiotic resistant bacteria shifted favorably toward the humans today as McDonald's USA announced a commitment to end reliance on medically important antibiotics in it chicken supply chains. That is good news for McDonald's customers...continued

McDonalds' new CEO could help humans win the war against antibiotic resistant bacteria

Posted February 26, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

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McDonalds' freshly appointed CEO, Steve Easterbrook, starts his new job on Monday. His appointment comes at a time when the golden arches are sagging. Sales are down and according to Fortune magazine, "the company faces one heck of an identity...continued

President's budget: More funding, but still missing key goals for curbing livestock use of antibiotics

Posted January 27, 2015 by Jonathan Kaplan

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Today the White House issued a press release and fact sheet announcing a near doubling of the Administration's budget to fighting the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. That's good news and a clear indication that the menace of antibiotic resistance...continued

FDA data suggest more antibiotics used per pound of meat produced

Posted October 3, 2014 by Jonathan Kaplan

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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