Iron oxides are permitted for use at a level of 0.1% by weight in sausage casings on the basis of the weight of the finished sausage product. No data on the uses of iron oxides in food were reported by the industry to the National Academy of Sciences in 1987, and the industry has not reported any recent use of iron oxides in foods. An estimate of intake of iron oxides was submitted which was based on food intake from a three-day national survey of food consumption in 1989-92, combined with maximum regulatory limits. It was assumed that all foods that could be coloured by iron oxides would contain it. The mean estimated intake of iron oxides by 11 912 respondents was 0.08 mg/kg bw per day (16% of the ADI), while the 90th percentile intake was estimated to be 0.28 mg/kg bw per day (56% of the ADI). For 2144 'eaters only', the mean intake was 0.45 mg/kg bw per day (90% of the ADI), and the 90th percentile intake was 0.89 mg/kg bw per day (180% of the ADI). It was concluded that it is unlikely that the intake of iron oxide would exceed the ADI on a long-term basis because iron oxides would be not be used in all sausages at the maximium permitted level. Futhermore, the industry has not reported any recent use of iron oxides in food.