The Human Nutrition Unit strives to strengthen the food composition activities in South Africa and other African countries as well as to improve the quality of food composition data. Compositional analyses are performed on foods and this data is then considered for entry into food composition data bases.

Food is a major component of man’s environment and therefore, information regarding food components/ingredients is important to individuals and groups involved in research, governmental regulation, health assessments and national food trade. This section is involved in the compilation of food data basis, which includes meat and meat products as well as milk and milk products, in close collaboration with the Department of Health and the private sector.

Food Science and Technology

Product safety and quality

Sensory analysis

Gastrointestinal technology


Major contributions of the section have been:

  • The compositional analyses and compilation of the nutrient content of key foods together with the Department of Health, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, other role players and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations

  • Presented the six International Food Data Conference in South Africa (2005) in collaboration with the University of Pretoria and the FAO

  • The second and third ECSAFOODS course on the production and use of food composition data in 1999 and 2005, sponsored by the FAO and the United Nations University (UNU)

  • Compilation and published booklets containing the composition of various dairy and meat products.


Ina van Heerden; Tel: +27 (0)12 672 9212; E-mail: