Melvin R. Bandle, 54, a former officer in the Agency for International Development and a specialist in world food distribution problems, died of an aneurysm Monday at his home in Reston.

Mr. Bandle was a program manager in the technical system bureau of AID from 1970 to 1973. He helped direct programs that provided research grants to private firms to help them develop and transport low-cost and nutritional food products to underdeveloped nations.

After leaving the agency he founded World Food Systems, a company that designed and helped carry out nutrition programs in foreign countries and served as consultant on nutritional problems of the developing world. He left World Food Systems about a year ago to devote his time to writing and his work as an independent consultant.

Before moving to this area in 1969, Mr. Bandle had worked for number of private chemical and commercial food firms in the South and Midwest as a nutritionist who specialized in research on food additives and preservatives. He also advised companies on methods of marketing high-nutrition foods.

Born in Los Angeles, he earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Oregon and served in the Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

He is survived by his wife, Luke, a son, Melvin F., and a daughter, Cynthia Ann, of the home; two other sons, Curtis R., of Reston, and Stephen V., of Sterling, Va.; and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin F. Bandle, of Oakridge, Ore.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Melvin R. Bandle Scholarship Fund c/o Associates for Renewal in Education, 1101 15th Street NW, Suite LL70, Washington D.C. 20005.