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The shortage of food for a substantial proportion of the world's population is a problem which has been challenging our society for a long time. In the 1972-1974 period an estimated 1.3 billion people subsisted in less developed countries with dietary energy supplies under the minimum nutritional requirements, and the current outlook is for a widening gap between needs and food supplies. Although progress has been made in production oriented research, such as the development of high yielding crop varieties and of better way to control pests and diseases, there is still a need for additional means to increase the world food supply. The objectives of this paper are as follows: 1) to define the problems and its relevance for developing countries; 2) to identify the current lines of research in the problem area; 3) to review the relevant literature on the methodological aspects of loss assessment studies; and 4) to outline the basic elements to be considered in the design of food loss assessment surveys as an initial step in the establishment of loss reduction programs.


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