The Indian state of Kerala had attained international acclaim for its consistently higher level of human development comparable with that of many advanced countries even with a much lower per capita income. The present paper focuses on the food security concerns in the state, which produces less than a quarter of its food grain requirements. There has however been a misguided optimism regarding the state's food security status in the recent times owing to the state's better economic performance, the supposed effective functioning of the Public Distribution System and good performance in terms of health outcome indicators. The paper critically analyses each of these factors and reveals the factual position behind the unwarranted optimism. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.