What Are Food Security and the Right to Food?
Food SecurityFrom the point of view of availability and stability of basic food supplies, it broadened to incorporate a dimension of accessibility, both at a household and individual level. Moreover, the concept of food security has progressively taken into account health and food characteristics, like their quality, safety and nutritional values. The definition of food security was developed in the 1970s, when the World Food Conference defined it in terms of food supply, assuring the price stability and availability of basic foodstuffs at the national and international level.Debating how the international community could ensure food accessibility, especially in developing countries, new international bodies were created, such as the World Food Council, the FAO Committee on World Food Security, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. In 1983, FAO analysis focused on the accessibility of food, stating that they would undertake the matter by ensuring that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic food that they need. The modern acceptation of food security most commonly used was firstly adopted at the World Food Summit in 1996, which recites as follows:
Food security, at the individual, household, national, regional, and global levels is achieved when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Right to Food
The right to food implies, at its very core, the availability of food in a quantity and quality sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture, and, the accessibility of such food in ways that are sustainable and that do not interfere with the enjoyment of other human rights. A right-to-food approach has led to an important shift in the unit level of analysis from a single focus on quantity alone to quantity and quality together.The perspective has also shifted from closely looking at foodstuffs to a broader context in which food is produced, consumed, and accessed. Most importantly, the global understanding and recognition of food-related issues linked to food security and the right to food drifted the main concern from availability of staple food supplies to gradually incorporate the importance of other factors, such as food safety and quality, as well as micronutrients values and dietary needs. In addition, also other known food factors have received attention due to their relevance in terms of food security. We’re referring to general health, adequate care, methods of cooking, ways of consuming, and hygiene practices.The right to food, as all human rights, entails three forms of state obligations. The obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to adequate, sufficient, nutritious food.The right of everyone to physical and economic access at all times to food in adequate quantity and quality, or to means of its procurement.
- Obligations to respect: Requires states to refrain from denying or limiting access to food, or interfering directly or indirectly with existing arrangements.
- Obligations to protect: Requires the undertaking of measures, such as legislative and safety ones, to ensure that third parties and other entities, such as private actors, groups, and corporations, do not interfere in any way with the individual exercise of the right.
- Obligations to fulfill: Requires states to fulfill their duties to facilitate and provide for individuals’ enjoyments of their right. These actions may comprise the development of national right-to-food strategies, the implementations of policies and new laws.
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Introduction to Food Science
Introduction to Food Science
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