FAOViale delle Terme di Caracalla00100 Rome, ItalyTel.: (+39) 06 57051Fax: (+39) 06 57053152Internet:
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONSRome, 2001
Editing, design, graphics and desktop publishing:Editorial GroupFAO Information DivisionThe designations employed and the presentation of material in thisinformation product do not imply the expression of any opinionwhatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization ofthe United Nations concerning the legal status of any country,territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitationof its frontiers or boundaries.All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in thisinformation product for educational or other non-commercial purposes areauthorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holdersprovided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in thisinformation product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibitedwithout written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for suchpermission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing and MultimediaService, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100Rome, Italy or by e-mail to [email protected]'FAO 2001ISBN 92-5-104559-3
ETHICAL ISSUES IN FOOD AND AGRICULTUREiiiThe stubborn persistence of hunger and poverty raises what are per-haps the most burning ethical questions of our age. Freeing human-ity from hunger and malnutrition is a moral obligation that weighson us more and more heavily as our capabilities and technologies advance.The world undoubtedly has the productive capacity to produce adequatequantities of nutritious food for all, yet gross inequities in people°s access toresources, opportunities and — not least — fair representation perpetuate thehunger and deprivation of more than 800 million people today.Technological advances and organizational changes affecting food andagriculture systems over the past years have been both radical and rapid;their repercussions, however, will be felt for a long time to come and, inmany cases, the consequences may be irreversible. Whether they be as spe-cific as individual food production techniques, or as broad as the effects ofglobalized international trade, such changes have refocused attention onfundamental human rights, including the right to sufficient — and safe —food. Science continues to broaden our horizons, offering us new optionsthat invariably give rise to controversy. Not surprisingly, recent develop-ments have brought to the fore numerous ethical issues that are central tofood security and to sustainable rural development and natural resourcemanagement; they are therefore of prime concern to FAO.