Health benefits for man have been associated with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and dairy products are highlighted as offering the best opportunity to increase CLA consumption. CLA is synthesised in the rumen as an intermediate in the biohydrogenation of linoleic acid to stearic acid. The supplies of both intermediates and endproducts of biohydrogenation are affected by the substrate supply and extent of biohydrogenation, thus influencing the CLA content of milk from ruminants. The majority of CLA is present in the rumen in the form of the cis-9,trans-11 isomer. The transfer efficiency of CLA to milk fat is affected by the presence of different isomers of CLA. Ruminant mammary and adipose cells are able to synthesise cis-9,trans-11-CLA from trans-11-18:1 (vaccenic acid) by the action of the Δ9-desaturase enzyme. Plant oils are high in both linoleic and linolenic acids, which results in increased CLA production in the rumen and in the mammary gland. The CLA content of milk increases when cows are offered grazed grass. Many published studies examining the CLA concentration of processed milk were confounded by variations in the concentration of CLA in the raw milk.