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This monograph is the result of a cooperative project sponsored jointly by the Nutrition Program, National Center for Chronic Disease Control, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (NP/NCCD),1 and the Food Consumption and Planning Branch, Nutrition Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). These two sponsoring organizations have actively participated in compilation of data on nutritive values of foods indigenous to different regions of the world. This publication was completed subsequent to the publication in 1949 and 1954, of “Food Composition Tables for International Use” by FAO and in 1961 of “Food Composition Table for Use in Latin America” which was jointly sponsored by INCAP/ICNND2

Initiation of the current project came in July, 1965, as acknowledgment of the urgent need expressed in 1963 by participants of the African Technical Meeting on Food Consumption Survey in Rabat, Morocco, sponsored by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and FAO, and by the members of the U. S. Nutrition Survey teams.

This food table for use in Africa, as well as the “Food Composition Table for Use in Latin America” and others proposed and likely to be prepared for other regions, are prerequisites to the effective evaluation and improvement of world nutrition. For, unless the composition of local foods is known, calculation of the habitual diet and the introduction of complementary foods to combat malnutrition cannot be put into practice satisfactorily.

For the purpose of discussing technical matters relating to the development of this project, a meeting of the Advisory Group (see List of Participants) was convened at FAO Headquarters, Rome, May 31-June 4, 1965. The Group recommended that preparation of a single set of food tables for use in Africa should be immediately initiated. First action on the project was the collection by personal contacts of published and unpublished data already available on African foods grown in different geographical areas. The main purpose of the project has been not only to collect analytical data, but also to unify methods and terminology in presentation and to determine the principal foods about which further information is needed. An additional aim is to stimulate further analytical work to be done locally or outside Africa in collaboration with institutions concerned with world nutrition.

1 Formerly known as the Nutrition Section, Office of International Research, National Institutes of Health, U. S. Public Health Service (NS/OIR) and before that as the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense(ICNND).
2 Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama/Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense.

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