Food security means having, at all times, physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. A family is food secure when its members do not live in hunger or fear of hunger. The USDA requested the review from CNSTAT to ensure that the measurement methods used by the USDA to assess household access or lack of access to adequate food and the language used to describe those conditions are conceptually and operationally sound and that they transmit relevant information to political officials and the public. The main transgenic crops currently cultivated (soybeans, oilseed rape, cotton and corn) are designed to support the food and textile industries of the developed world.
Food security isn't just a problem of poverty; it's a much bigger problem that involves the entire food system and affects all of us in some way. The CNSTAT panel also recommended that the USDA consider alternative labels to indicate the severity of food insecurity without using the word hunger, since the food security survey does not adequately assess hunger. Household food security exists when all members, at all times, have access to enough food to lead an active and healthy life. Around the world, around 852 million people suffer from chronic hunger due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people intermittently lack food security due to varying degrees of poverty.
Issues such as whether households receive enough food, how it is distributed within the household and whether those foods meet the nutritional needs of all members of the household show that food security is clearly linked to health. The transfer of genes from transgenic plants to conventional crops in nature (crossing), as well as the mixing of crops derived from conventional seeds with those cultivated with transgenic crops, can have an indirect effect on food and food security. Families with the financial resources to escape extreme poverty rarely suffer from chronic hunger; while poor families not only suffer the most from chronic hunger, but they are also the segment of the population most at risk during food shortages and famines. The World Bank Group works with its partners to create food systems that can feed every day, everywhere, by improving food security, promoting “nutrient-sensitive agriculture” and improving food security.
Global food security must exist to meet the challenge of providing the world's growing population with a sustainable and safe supply of good quality food. Very low food security is characterized by the conditions usually reported by households in this category in the annual survey. An assured ability to purchase acceptable food in a socially acceptable manner (i.e., without resorting to emergency food supplies, rummaging, stealing, or other survival strategies). The 1996 World Food Summit defined food security as that which exists when all people have access at all times to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.
There is currently little research and development of transgenics by private companies on basic food crops vital to developing countries.