True fractional Ca absorption from six foods was measured in twelve normal healthy women, aged 20–29 years. The tested foods were commercially available fresh cheese, fresh cheese prepared by new technology and rich in Ca, similar cheese with added Fe, enteral food, mineral water alone and combined with a spaghetti meal. The aim of the study was to investigate: (1) Ca absorption from a new Ca-rich fresh cheese and to compare it with that from the traditional commercial type of fresh cheese; (2) the effect of Fe enrichment of the new cheese on Ca absorption; (3) Ca absorption from the mineral water and the enteral product and to compare it with that from the dairy products; (4) the effect of a meal combined with the mineral water on Ca absorption. All test foods were consumed by all subjects according to a design with two Latin squares. Each treatment of 2 d was followed by a wash-out period of 2 weeks. Ca absorption was measured using a double stable-isotope (44Ca and 48Ca) extrinsic labelling technique. Mean fractional Ca absorption from the new fresh cheese was not significantly different from that from the traditional type (37·7 (SD 10·2)% v. 42·2 (SD 11·6)%). The addition of Fe to the new cheese did not significantly influence Ca absorption. Ca-absorption values from the mineral water (37·0 (SD 98) %) and from the enterd product (42·6 (SD 11·4)%) were not significantly different from those from the dairy products (37·7–42·2%, SD 10·2–11·6%). The co-ingestion of a spaghetti meal with the mineral water significantly enhanced Ca absorption from 37 (SD 9·8)% to 46·1 (SD 11·7)%. It is concluded that a new process leading to a fresh cheese with a higher Ca concentration does not alter Ca bioavailability compared with the standard technology and for a constant Ca supply. Thus this new fresh cheese would probably provide more Ca than the standard one. The fractional Ca-absorption values for mineral water and the enteral product indicate that these products can make an interesting contribution to Ca supply for populations with a low Ca intake and patients with specilic diseases respectively.