Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth.
- I wonder at those who think about their body's food, but do not think about their soul's food. They keep away disturbing food from their belly, but fill up their hearts with destructive subjects.
- Hasan ibn Ali, Shaykh ‘Abbās Qummi, Safīnatul Bihār, Article of Taste
- This much thou hast taught me: that I should learn to take food as medicine. But during that time when I pass from the pinch of emptiness to the contentment of fullness, it is in that very moment that the snare of appetite lies baited for me.
- Augustine, Confessions, as translated by A. Outler, Book 10, Chapter 31, p. 197
- What is sufficient for health is not enough for pleasure. And it is often a matter of doubt whether it is the needful care of the body that still calls for food or whether it is the sensual snare of desire still wanting to be served. In this uncertainty my unhappy soul rejoices, and uses it to prepare an excuse as a defense. It is glad that it is not clear as to what is sufficient for the moderation of health, so that under the pretense of health it may conceal its projects for pleasure.
- Augustine, Confessions, as translated by A. Outler, Book 10, Chapter 31, p. 197
- You must be careful about what you eat, unless you want your body making heart valves out of things like bean dip.
- Dave Barry, Stay Fit & Healthy Until You're Dead (1985)
- Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching toward starvation... today... 200 million of our neighbors are on the brink of starvation. That’s more than the entire population of Western Europe. On the other hand, there is $400 trillion of wealth in our world today. Even at the height of the COVID pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional [$2.7] trillion of wealth was created. And we only need $5 billion to save 30 million lives from famine. What am I missing here?...
I don’t go to bed at night thinking about the children we saved; I go to bed weeping over the children we could not save. And when we don’t have enough money nor the access we need, we have to decide which children eat and which children do not eat, which children live, which children die. How would you like that job? Please, don’t ask us to choose who lives and who dies. In the spirit of Alfred Nobel, as inscribed on this medal, “peace and brotherhood,” let’s feed them all. Food is the pathway to peace.
- Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.
- Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.
- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du Gout (1825); tr. M. F. K. Fisher, The Physiology of Taste: Or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy (1949)
- Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.
- You are what you eat.
- Victor Lindlahr, You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet (1942).
Bhikkhus, this Kassapa is content with any kind of almsfood, and he speaks in praise of contentment with any kind of almsfood, and he does not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper, for the sake of a almsfood. If he does not get almsfood he is not agitated, and if he gets it he uses it without being tied to it, uninfatuated with it, not blindly absorbed in it, seeing the danger in it, understanding the escape. ...
Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: 'We will be content with any kind of almsfood, and we will speak in praise of contentment with any kind of almsfood, and we will not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper, for the sake of almsfood. If we do not get almsfood we will not be agitated, and if we get it we will use it without being tied to it, uninfatuated with it, not blindly absorbed in it, seeing the danger in it, understanding the escape.'
- One of the great successes of the twentieth century was a rate of growth in food output that considerably surpassed the unprecedented rate of population growth. . . . We have the capacity to produce enough food for everyone on the planet to be adequately fed.
- Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Speaking to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, U.S.A. Awake! magazine, November 22, 2003; Watching the World.
- Based on the safety and nutritional assessment you have conducted, it is our understanding that Monsanto has concluded that corn products derived from this new variety are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from corn currently on the market, and that the genetically modified corn does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA...."
- Food and Drug Administration as quoted by Jeffrey M. Smith in Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods
- Severe food insecurity is one extreme of the scale, but even moderate food insecurity is worrisome. For those who are moderately food insecure, access to food is uncertain. They might have to sacrifice other basic needs, just to be able to eat. When they do eat, it might be whatever is most readily available or cheapest, which might not be the most nutritious food. The rise in obesity and other forms of malnutrition is partly a result of this phenomenon. Highly processed foods that are energy-dense, high in saturated fats, sugars and salt are often cheaper and easier to come by than fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating those foods may mean your daily requirement of calories is met, but you are missing essential nutrients to keep your body healthy and functioning well. In addition, the stress of living with uncertain access to food and going periods without food can lead to physiological changes that can contribute to overweight and obesity. Children facing hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition today may have a higher risk of overweight, obesity and chronic diseases like diabetes later in life. In many countries, undernutrition and obesity coexist and both can be consequences of food insecurity.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Hunger and food insecurity”
- There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
- How can I describe it? Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it.
- Chef Auguste Gusteau, Ratatouille, 2007
- The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility.
- Eric Hoffer (The True Believer)
- I came to [Jim Sinegal] once and I said, ‘Jim, we can’t sell this hot dog for a buck fifty. We are losing our rear ends.’ And he said, 'If you raise the effing hot dog, I will kill you. Figure it out.' That’s all I really needed. By the way, if you raised (the price) to $1.75, it would not be that big of a deal. People would still buy [it]. But it’s the mindset that when you think of Costco, you think of the $1.50 hot dog (and soda).
- Costco CEO Craig Jelinek in a 2018 speech
- When we live in a world where the vast majority of Americans are obese and you have 17 or 18 year old kids that are 6’ 4” and 350 pounds, then you definitely have to take a look at what the food supply is doing to people. And anyone that suggests that there aren’t readily available or healthy alternatives to shoving hormone injected meats and hormone injected milk, and all this fucking food with god knows what in it is full of shit. That’s total bullshit. The system is fucking corrupt. We have the resources to not cram this shit down people’s throats...
- I stand by my assertions that although you can know what happens to any individual species that you modify, you cannot be certain what will happen to the ecosystem. Also, we have a strange situation where we have malnourished fat people. It’s not that we need more food. It’s that we need to manage our food system better. So when corporations seek government funding for genetic modification of food sources, I stroke my chin.
- The simplest of all desires is that which the baby feels for its food. The human body is a wonderful machine, so designed as to compel the infant to comply from within with certain substances in its environment which we call food. The mechanism by which this compliance is brought about we need not consider in the present discussion. Suffice it to say that when hunger pangs are initiated in the infant's stomach, he cannot pay attention to anything in the world but food.
- Moses … denied to the members of the sacred commonwealth unrestricted liberty to use and partake of the other kinds of food. All the animals of land, sea or air whose flesh is the finest and fattest, thus titillating and exciting the malignant foe pleasure, he sternly forbade them to eat, knowing that they set a trap for the most slavish of the senses, the taste, and produce gluttony, an evil very dangerous both to soul and body.
- Philo, On The Special Laws, Part IV, p. 69
- The inexperienced in wisdom and virtue, ever occupied with feasting and such, are carried downward, and there, as is fitting, they wander their whole life long, neither ever looking upward to the truth above them nor rising toward it, nor tasting pure and lasting pleasures. Like cattle, always looking downward with their heads bent toward the ground and the banquet tables, they feed, fatten, and fornicate. In order to increase their possessions they kick and butt with horns and hoofs of steel and kill each other, insatiable as they are.
- Plato, Republic, 586a
- The Gods have not ordained hunger to be our death: even to the well-fed man comes death in varied shape,
The riches of the liberal never waste away, while he who will not give finds none to comfort him,
The man with food in store who, when the needy comes in miserable case begging for bread to eat,
Hardens his heart against him, when of old finds not one to comfort him.
Bounteous is he who gives unto the beggar who comes to him in want of food, and the feeble,
Success attends him in the shout of battle. He makes a friend of him in future troubles,
No friend is he who to his friend and comrade who comes imploring food, will offer nothing.
Let the rich satisfy the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway,
Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling,
The foolish man wins food with fruitless labour: that food – I speak the truth – shall be his ruin,
He feeds no trusty friend, no man to love him. All guilt is he who eats with no partaker.
- Naturalists and egalitarians don’t believe the rosy predictions about how genetically enhanced food will end famine. Starving people are hungry not because of high population density but inequality in food distribution… Similarly geni-modified food is neither the best nor the only way to feed starving people.
- Peter Rosett, in “World Hunger:Tweleve Myths” in Designer Food: Mutant Harvest Or Breadbasket of the World?, (2002), quoted by Gregory E. Pence, p. 149
- The formula that food is the way to derive peace actually should be more properly understood in reverse. The answer to my question of why we have so many hungry people on the planet when there is no need for that is that it is a deliberate decision that some human beings make in order to appropriate the resources of others, or, as in the case of one of the hot spots on the planet right now for hunger, which is Yemen, it was a deliberate strategy to disrupt the food system specifically to weaken the country in the pursuit of the war between proxies, Saudi Arabia and Iran. And so, it’s important to remember that hunger does not always happen because of natural disasters... it is often the result of things that we actually do to each other deliberately.
- Ricardo Salvador, in As Food Insecurity Surges, Leading Scientist Says Hunger Is a Deliberate Choice by Those in Power, Democracy Now! (10 December 2020)
- What you have eaten, what you have eaten -- it was not bread that you have eaten, it was your flesh that you have eaten!
What you have drunk, what you have drunk -- it was not beer that you drank, it was your blood that you drank!
- Something is broken when the food comes on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in slippery plastic, a carcass of a being whose only chance at life was a cramped cage. That is not a gift of life; it is a theft.
- Robin Wall Kimmerer Braiding Sweetgrass (2013)
- According to David Kessler, the former FDA commissioner, the food industry is not just aiming to satisfy its customers. ... The industry, including the growers, concocters, testers, packagers, marketers, distributors, and retailers, is investing in hyperstimulating foods—creations with the power to keep us eating. There are scientists hard at work right now devising ways to get you to eat more than you naturally desire.
- The report estimates that over 2 billion people, mostly in low- and middle-income countries, do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. But irregular access is also a challenge for high-income countries, including 8 percent of the population in Northern America and Europe. This calls for a profound transformation of food systems to provide sustainably-produced healthy diets for a growing world population.
- World Health Organization, "World hunger is still not going down after three years and obesity is still growing – UN report". (15 July, 2019)
“World Food Summit - Rome Declaration on World Food Security” (13-17 November 1996) edit
Food and Agriculture Organization, “World Food Summit - Rome Declaration on World Food Security” (13-17 November 1996)
- Poverty is a major cause of food insecurity and sustainable progress in poverty eradication is critical to improve access to food. Conflict, terrorism, corruption and environmental degradation also contribute significantly to food insecurity. Increased food production, including staple food, must be undertaken. This should happen within the framework of sustainable management of natural resources, elimination of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, and early stabilization of the world population. We acknowledge the fundamental contribution to food security by women, particularly in rural areas of developing countries, and the need to ensure equality between men and women. Revitalization of rural areas must also be a priority to enhance social stability and help redress the excessive rate of rural-urban migration confronting many countries.
We emphasize the urgency of taking action now to fulfill our responsibility to achieve food security for present and future generations. Attaining food security is a complex task for which the primary responsibility rests with individual governments. They have to develop an enabling environment and have policies that ensure peace, as well as social, political and economic stability and equity and gender equality. We express our deep concern over the persistence of hunger which, on such a scale, constitutes a threat both to national societies and, through a variety of ways, to the stability of the international community itself. Within the global framework, governments should also cooperate actively with one another and with United Nations organizations, financial institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and public and private sectors, on programmes directed toward the achievement of food security for all.
Food should not be used as an instrument for political and economic pressure. We reaffirm the importance of international cooperation and solidarity as well as the necessity of refraining from unilateral measures not in accordance with the international law and the Charter of the United Nations and that endanger food security.
- 4. We recognize the need to adopt policies conducive to investment in human resource development, research and infrastructure for achieving food security. We must encourage generation of employment and incomes, and promote equitable access to productive and financial resources. We agree that trade is a key element in achieving food security. We agree to pursue food trade and overall trade policies that will encourage our producers and consumers to utilize available resources in an economically sound and sustainable manner. We recognize the importance for food security of sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development in low as well as high potential areas. We acknowledge the fundamental role of farmers, fishers, foresters, indigenous people and their communities, and all other people involved in the food sector, and of their organizations, supported by effective research and extension, in attaining food security. Our sustainable development policies will promote full participation and empowerment of people, especially women, an equitable distribution of income, access to health care and education, and opportunities for youth. Particular attention should be given to those who cannot produce or procure enough food for an adequate diet, including those affected by war, civil strife, natural disaster or climate related ecological changes. We are conscious of the need for urgent action to combat pests, drought, and natural resource degradation including desertification, overfishing and erosion of biological diversity.
- 18. Assured access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is essential for individual welfare and for national, social and economic development, in accordance with the World Declaration on Nutrition, International Conference on Nutrition (ICN), Rome 1992. Every country in the world has vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, households and groups who cannot meet their own needs. Seventy percent of all poor are women, which should be taken into consideration when preparing poverty eradication action. Even where and when overall food supplies are adequate, poverty impedes access by all to the quantity and variety of foods needed to meet the population's needs. Rapid population growth and rural poverty have resulted in excessive migration to urban areas with serious negative social, economic, environmental and nutritional impact. Unless extraordinary efforts are undertaken, an unacceptably large portion of the world's population, particularly in developing countries, could still be chronically undernourished by the year 2010 with additional suffering due to acute periodic shortages of food. Contributing to malnutrition is the lack of adequate food utilization which, in this context, is the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients in food by the human body and requires adequate diet, water sanitation, health services, and health education.
- 23. It is imperative that food production be increased, particularly in low-income, food-deficit countries, to meet the needs of the undernourished and food insecure, the additional food requirements resulting from population growth, demand for new food products due to rising standards of living and changes in consumption patterns. Production increases need to be achieved without further overburdening women farmers, while ensuring both productive capacity, sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment.
- 37. Trade is a key element in achieving world food security. Trade generates effective utilization of resources and stimulates economic growth which is critical to improving food security. Trade allows food consumption to exceed food production, helps to reduce production and consumption fluctuations and relieves part of the burden of stock holding. It has a major bearing on access to food through its positive effect on economic growth, income and employment. Appropriate domestic economic and social policies will better ensure that all, including the poor, will benefit from economic growth. Appropriate trade policies promote the objectives of sustainable growth and food security. It is essential that all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) respect and fulfil the totality of the undertakings of the Uruguay Round. For this purpose it will be necessary to refrain from unilateral measures not in accordance with WTO obligations.
"The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021. Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all" (2021) edit
FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2021. "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021. Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all". Rome, FAO.
- Moderate or severe food insecurity (based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale) at the global level has been slowly on the rise, from 22.6 percent in 2014 to 26.6 percent in 2019. Then in 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it rose nearly as much as in the previous five years combined, to 30.4 percent. Thus, nearly one in three people in the world did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of 320 million people in just one year, from 2.05 to 2.37 billion. Nearly 40 percent of those people – 11.9 percent of the global population, or almost 928 million – faced food insecurity at severe levels. Close to 148 million more people were severely food insecure in 2020 than in 2019.
- Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns (now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic) are behind recent rises in hunger and slowing progress in reducing all forms of malnutrition. Their adverse influence is made all the more difficult by high and persistent levels of inequality. In addition, millions of people around the world suffer from food insecurity and different forms of malnutrition because they cannot afford the cost of healthy diets. These major drivers are unique but not mutually exclusive, as they interact to the detriment of food security and nutrition by creating multiple, compounding impacts at many different points within our food systems.
For example, conflict negatively affects almost every aspect of a food system, from production, harvesting, processing and transport to input supply, financing, marketing and consumption. Direct impacts can include the destruction of agricultural and livelihood assets and can severely disrupt and restrict trade and movements of goods and services, with a negative effect on the availability and prices of food, including nutritious foods.
Similarly, climate variability and extremes create multiple and compounding impacts on food systems. They negatively affect agricultural productivity, and also affect food imports as countries try to compensate for domestic production losses. Climate-related disasters can lead to significant impacts across the food value chain, with negative consequences on sector growth and on food and non-food agro-industries.
On the other hand, economic slowdowns and downturns primarily impact food systems through their negative effects on people’s access to food, including the affordability of healthy diets, as they lead to rises in unemployment and declines in wages and incomes. This is the case irrespective of whether they are driven by market swings, trade wars, political unrest, or a global pandemic, such as COVID-19.
The unaffordability of healthy diets is a result of the effects of other drivers or factors on people’s income and on the cost of nutritious foods throughout the food system. As such, it is a driver that acts within food systems to negatively affect food security and nutrition.
Poverty and inequality are critical underlying structural factors that amplify the negative impact of the major drivers. Their impacts are felt throughout food systems and food environments, ultimately affecting the affordability of healthy diets and food security and nutrition outcomes.
Beyond their direct impacts on food systems, these major global drivers and underlying structural factors weaken food security and nutrition through interconnected and circular impacts on other systems, including environmental and health systems.
- There are six possible recommended pathways through which food systems could be transformed to address the major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition and ensure access to affordable healthy diets for all, sustainably and inclusively. These are: 1) integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas; 2) scaling up climate resilience across food systems; 3) strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity; 4) intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods; 5) tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive; and 6) strengthening food environments and changing consumer behaviour to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment.
- The ways we produce food and use our natural resources can help deliver a climate-positive future in which people and nature can coexist and thrive. This is important, not only because food systems are affected by climate events, but also because food systems themselves impact on the state of the environment and are a driver of climate change. Central to this effort are priorities to protect nature, to sustainably manage existing food production and supply systems, and to restore and rehabilitate natural environments. These sustainability efforts will also strengthen resilience to climate shocks to ensure food security and improved nutrition.