The UK Food Standards Agency convened a group of expert scientists to review current research investigating the optimal dietary intake for n-9 cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). The aim was to review the mechanisms underlying the reported beneficial effects of MUFA on CHD risk, and to establish priorities for future research. The issue of optimal MUFA intake is contingent upon optimal total fat intake; however, there is no consensus of opinion on what the optimal total fat intake should be. Thus, it was recommended that a large multi-centre study should look at the effects on CHD risk of MUFA replacement of saturated fatty acids in relation to varying total fat intakes; this study should be of sufficient size to take account of genetic variation, sex, physical activity and stage of life factors, as well as being of sufficient duration to account for adaptation to diets. Recommendations for studies investigating the mechanistic effects of MUFA were also made. Methods of manipulating the food chain to increase MUFA at the expense of saturated fatty acids were also discussed.