ILSI South Africa was formally established in 1998 with a mission to:

contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans through improved public health and safety.

Emphasis is placed on nutrition, food safety, and environmental issues, particularly water. In 2018, ILSI SA will celebrate 20 years of existence with a proud record of providing supporting scientific programmes and research in South Africa.

ILSI South Africa's organization reflects ILSI's value of public-private partnerships. Its leadership includes the ILSI South Africa president (elected from academia/NGO/government); a chairman (elected from member companies); a secretary (elected from academia/NGO/government); and a vice-chairman/treasurer (elected from member companies). Eight individuals representing academia or government and eight individuals from ILSI South Africa's industry membership form its Board of Trustees.

Our Work

ILSI South Africa organises and implements exclusively scientific and educational activities, which are required in order to secure and improve food safety, sound nutrition and optimal human health. These issues are addressed on the basis of scientific evidence (data) and comprehensive information relating to food safety as well as the nutritional and health effects of food, drugs and chemicals. ILSI South Africa is also concerned with sound environmental practices and the implementation of cleaner technologies for long term sustainable development and improvement of public health and safety. ILSI South Africa believes that its science – as part of the larger body of scientific information – helps industries make safe, healthy products and helps governments provide effective and practical guidance to safeguard health.

However – while ILSI South Africa strongly advocates the use of science in making decisions that affect human health – it does not make policy recommendations, lobby for specific policy outcomes, or seek to influence legislation toward a particular decision. ILSI South Africa has in place checks and balances to ensure focus is always on science and never on policy.

Our Values

Public Benefit
All scientific activities have a primary public purpose and benefit.

Scientists from many sectors of society - public and private - can best address complex science and health issues by sharing their unique perspectives, by working together to design and execute activities.

All scientific activities are conducted in an open and transparent manner and all scientific outcomes are made available to the public to ensure confidence in the integrity of the process and outcomes.

Code of Ethics and Organizational Standards of Conduct

Bylaws of ILSI SA

ILSI's Anti-Corruption Policy

Members and Leadership

Assembly of Members

The Assembly of Members consists of designated member representatives and is the ultimate decision making body on which all member companies are represented. The Assembly of Members elects the Board of Trustees.

Member Companies

DSM Nutritional Products Unilever SA ( Pty) Ltd
Bayer Danone Southern Africa

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is the managing body of ILSI-SA and consists of at least 8 and at the most, 16 Trustees and is elected by the Assembly of Members. The Board of Trustees also includes a number of public Trustees (representing universities, government, agencies or quasi-government bodies or foundations), which shall at least equal the number of Trustees who are representatives of Members.

Members of the Board of Trustees

Prof Suna Kassier (President)

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Ms Leanne Kiezer (Chair)

Danone Southern Africa

Mrs Duduzile Mthuli (Vice Chair/Treasurer)

Unilever SA (Pty) Ltd

Mr Mjikisile Vulindlu

City of Cape Town

Ms Monique Smorenburg

DSM Nutritional Products

Ms Alison Levesley


Prof Nelia Steyn

University of Cape Town

Prof Elizabeth Kempen


Prof Friede Wenhold

University of Pretoria


Key Partner for Science in Public Health

Both large and small companies, whether local or multi-national, benefit from access that ILSI SA has to the world's leading scientists. Through this collaborative approach, companies gain access to the unique, combined international and national expertise of industry, academia, government and the consumer sector.

ILSI SA provides an efficient and cost-effective way of pooling resources in order to identify and address important public health issues in food safety, nutrition and environmental issues from a scientific perspective.

For more information on joining ILSI SA contact Executive Director Ms Nazeeia Sayed at execdirector.ilsi.za@gmail.com.

Reasons to Join ILSI SA

ILSI SA is particularly keen to encourage membership from companies outside South Africa that are based in Sub-Saharan Africa, due to the rapid expansion of business being conducted in this region. Coordinating Sub-Saharan Africa activities and bringing access to ILSI's global source of expertise in food safety, nutrition and environmental issues, would be of great benefit to all members of ILSI SA. These benefits can also only impact positively on capacity building where needed.

  • Promotes the role of science in food and environmental matters.
  • Offers opportunities to translate scientific knowledge into science-based solutions, of benefit to member companies as well as the public sector.
  • Provides a unique, credible and tested "tripartite" approach where members from industry, academia and government/NGOs are able to discuss matters of importance related to food safety, nutrition and environmental issues in a neutral forum.
  • Assists to keep members updated on latest global scientific progress, through access to a number of experts in their field, worldwide.
  • Offers an opportunity to participate in international ILSI projects and to customise them for implementation in South Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa as the need arises.
  • Provides a forum for collaboration with government on public health issues, mainly in the form of support of specific projects such as a Water Quality and Safety project completed in 2015, and the Provincial Dietary Intake Study completed in 2019.


ILSI SA collaborates with a number of reputable organizations in South Africa, relevant government departments and of course nutrition, biotechnology and food science and technology academic departments throughout the country. Collaboration is in the fields of food safety, nutrition and the environment in an attempt to coordinate efforts rather than to create unnecessary duplication. This is a principle that ILSI SA adheres to in order to offer cost-effective opportunities for members to participate in important events. ILSI SA also constantly seeks international collaboration and as these are developed, ILSI SA will publish this information on the website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does ILSI SA achieve its mission?

It achieves its mission by fostering collaboration among experts from academia, government, research councils and industry on conducting, gathering, summarizing, and disseminating science. Its activities focus primarily on nutrition and health promotion; food safety; risk assessment; and the environment.

How is ILSI SA different from a trade/industry association?

ILSI SA (as for all ILSI branches) is not a trade association. It is an organization that provides science that improves public health and well-being. It is therefore a public charity and is dedicated to the public interest. It does not serve the purpose of its company members as ILSI believes (and has proven over more than 30 years) that leading scientists from academia, government, and industry can and should work together to identify and address topics and concerns of common interest.

Is has been said that ILSI is a lobbying organization. Is this true?

No it is not. All ILSI branches including ILSI SA are expressly prohibited from lobbying as described in ILSI's Code of Ethics and Organizational Standards of Conduct. ILSI SA supports the use of science in matters affecting human and environmental health, and may offer such scientific information to government, but it does not make policy recommendations or seek to influence legislative outcomes toward a particular decision.

Who may become a member of ILSI SA?

Company membership of ILSI SA is limitless and is open to all companies operating in the realm that ILSI SA supports. Both large and small companies are encouraged to join ILSI SA.

Is an industry/trade association permitted to become a member of ILSI SA?

No industry association may become a member of ILSI SA.

What geographical region does ILSI SA cover?

The Bylaws of ILSI SA extend up to South African borders. However, any company operating in the Sub Saharan African region is welcome to join ILSI SA, as ILSI SA is aware of the need to incorporate the Sub Saharan region of Africa, which is a potential development for the near future.

How does ILSI SA maintain its impartiality, considering that funding is mainly generated from company members?

The managing body of ILSI SA is the Board of Trustees, which is made up of equal numbers of member company representatives and public trustees. Public trustees are currently made up of consumer organizations, government departments at national and local level, university academics and national research councils. In addition, the President of the Board of Trustees must be a public trustee. In this way, ILSI SA ensures that decisions made are not serving the interest of any particular company member. As mentioned elsewhere, lobbying is not permitted. Furthermore, ILSI SA's work is guided by ILSI's Code of Ethics and Organizational Standards of Conduct. ILSI SA contributes to a number of ILSI's scientific outputs, which are peer-reviewed by other reputable scientists to ensure that solid, evidence-based, good quality science is used to improve public health.

What other policies and/or practices does ILSI SA comply with?

ILSI SA is governed by ILSI's Anti-Corruption Policy which requires that all trustees, employees, staff, agents, representatives and other third parties that interact with government officials on behalf of ILSI shall maintain a corruption-free culture. In addition, at the start of every ILSI SA Board and Assembly of Members meeting, a competition law caveat is read out requiring that member companies do not engage in anti-competitive behaviour as per South African law. Each member of the Board agrees to this and these agreements are noted in the minutes.

Was ILSI SA in any way involved with accusations of misconduct against Tim Noakes?

ILSI South Africa does not have activities related to infant nutrition, nor has it ever addressed the health effects of low-carbohydrate diets. Further, ILSI South Africa has never been part of any discussion related to Prof. Noakes or his recommendations for nutrition and health. We suggest that organizations such as the South African Paediatric Association are contacted for information about healthful diets during gestation and infancy.

Contact Information

Nazeeia Sayed
ILSI Executive Director
Email:   execdirector.ilsi.za@gmail.com