Vol. 42 No. 1 (2022): Food and philosophy

The Hunger Genocide

Paolo Gomarasca
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano

Published 2022-06-28


  • food ethics,
  • right to adequate food,
  • genocide,
  • food security,
  • food safety

How to Cite

Gomarasca, P. (2022). The Hunger Genocide. Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 42(1), 53–68. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v42i1.144


In his 2003 Report, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, stated that persistent hunger is neither inevitable nor acceptable. Hunger is not a question of fate; it is manmade. The aim of this paper is to argue in favor of the view that Zigler’s claim has not to be treated as mere rhetoric. There are good reasons to take it in a strictly juridical sense, in direct relation to the human right to food. As affirmed by FAO, the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman, and child, alone or in community with others, has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement. Interestingly, this human right has pushed FAO to adopt an experience-based food security indicator (FIES) in 2013, which has a clear ethical advantage: the involvement of the people who suffer hunger or malnutrition in identifying their dietary needs. This paper analyses and endorses this new indicator and its bottom-up approach, considering the drawbacks of the classical FAO indicator, based on the prevalence of undernutrition.