The UN food agency has initiated a worldwide media campaign on hunger.
"I'm mad as hell and I hope you are too, so let's go out there and blow the whistle on hunger together," said Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis, among a galaxy of sporting and film stars lending their voices to the campaign.
Advertisement"I've broken a lot of records in my career but the record we want to break now means much more," Lewis said.
The campaign centres on an on-line petition urging governments to make the elimination of hunger their top priority, with the slogan "I'm Mad as Hell" and a yellow whistle icon.
Its website, www.1billionhungry.org, features a clip in which British film star Jeremy Irons says: "People around the world suffer hunger, chronic hunger. One billion people, one billion of us. Now that's bad, worse than bad, that's crazy!"
Getting angrier by the second in the takeoff of a famous scene from the film "Network" starring Peter Finch, Irons says: "We've got to get mad. I want you to get mad. I want you to get up right now, stick your head out outta the window and yell: 'I'm mad as hell... and I'm not gonna let one billion people go hungry.' You tell 'em!"
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation hopes the petition will spread through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
FAO Director General Jacques Diouf, addressing the event by video link from Brasilia where he was stranded by the Icelandic ash cloud, said: "I have a feeling of revolt. I exhort you to express this feeling of revolt... in both developed and developing countries."
If the world continues at the current pace of hunger reduction, the Millennium Development Goal of halving the percentage of hungry people by 2015 will not be met, the FAO warns.
The UN agency estimates that global agricultural production needs to grow by 70 percent if the estimated nine billion people that will inhabit the planet in 2050 are to be fed.
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