(The new book.)

I'm writing a book for National Geographic, to be published in 2017, about the history of antibiotic use in agriculture, and how that use has affected our health and diets; land use and labor; international trade and global business, and many other intriguing issues. Simultaneously, I'm working on a project, under the auspices of the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT, that will help me tell this story through video, audio and data visualization.

It's going to be enormous fun to research, and — I hope — surprising, challenging, and thought-provoking to read and watch.

Magazine stories


The Food and Environment Reporting Network, September 2016: UN Makes Historic Commitment to Fight Antibiotic Resistance. The biggest challenge in controlling antibiotic overuse lies on the farms of the developing world.

The New York Times Magazine, April 2016: Home to Roost: The looming threat of avian flu. Last year’s outbreak showed just how difficult it is to protect America’s agricultural system from devastating diseases. Next time it could be even worse.

MORE Magazine, March 2015: Superbugs in Your Supper: Whenever you eat chicken or beef, you’re probably also eating a side order of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Modern Farmer, June 2014: The Abstinence Method: Dutch farmers just say no to antibiotics for livestock.

Slate, April 2014: The Future of Chicken: How to mass-produce meat without breeding killer microbes.

Modern Farmer, September 2013: From Factory Farm to Organic Icon: Will Harris III grew up on conventional farming. But now his family's legacy is anything but.

Wired,  September 2013: Unchecked Bugs: Censorship Doesn’t Just Stifle Speech — It Can Spread Disease.

Slate, December 2012: The Father of the Chicken Nugget: Robert C. Baker was a poultry savant. But his contribution to fast food has been erased from the history books.

The Atlantic, July 2012: How Your Chicken Dinner is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug: Continuing to treat urinary tract infections as a short-term, routine ailment rather than a long-term food safety issue risks turning the responsible bacteria into a major health crisis.

SELF, June 2012: The Dangerous Superbugs Hiding in Your Dinner: Farmers helped create drug-resistant bacteria. Government ignored the problem. Antibiotic-resistant foodborne illness is increasing, and deadly.

Scientific American, April 2012: Food Poisoning’s Hidden Legacy: Foodborne illness is an unpleasant few days of fever and diarrhea — and maybe lifelong consequences

The Guardian, June 2011: The reason why this deadly E. coli makes doctors shudder: It is past time for health authorities to curb the antibiotic misuse that created the resistance of this aberrant E. coli strain.

Scientific American, January 2009: New Strain of Drug-Resistant Staph Found in US Pigs: If a newly arrived European strain leads to human disease, it could complicate the struggle against MRSA.

Blog posts

National Geographic's Phenomena:

Is Drug Resistant Staph a Work Hazard for Farm Workers?

The Latest, Largest Chicken Producer to Forgo Antibiotics Could Tip the Market

Despite Attempted Curbs, Animal Antibiotic Use in the US Still Increasing

New Drug-Resistant Foodborne Illness Spreads in the US

National Geographic's The Plate:

School Lunch May be Next to Nudge Antibiotics off the Plate

As Appetite for Meat Grows, Farm Antibiotic Use Will Soar

McDonald's Chicken Goes Antibiotic-Free. Now What?

Countries Wary of Drug-Resistant Staph Moving from Pigs to People

Farm Antibiotic Use: Getting Worse Before It (Maybe) Gets Better

Open-Sourcing Chicken: Breaking Free from Corporate Genetics

Removing Antibiotics from Meat Production: The Market Leads the Way

Small Changes, Big Results: How to Feed 3 Billion More People


There's a Major Foodborne Illness Outbreak and the Government's Shut Down 

Two Former FDA Commissioners Agree: Ag Antibiotic Policies Must Change

Antibiotic Use in Chickens: Responsible for Hundreds of Human Deaths?

“Pig MRSA” Carried by Workers from North Carolina Intensive Hog Farms

Gene Sequencing Pinpoints Antibiotic Resistance Moving From Livestock to Humans

“Sh*t, Just Ship It”: Felony Prosecution for Salmonella-Peanut Executives

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Surround Big Swine Farms — In China as Well as the U.S. 

 Why We Can’t See Inside Poultry Production, and What Might Change if We Could