A variety of foods (peas (Pisum sativum), chicken meat, eggs, goat's milk, human milk) enriched with the stable isotope 67Zn were prepared by means of intrinsic- and extrinsic-labelling procedures. They were fed to rats and apparent absorption of 67Zn determined from faecal excretion measurements using thermal ionization mass spectrometry. There were significant differences in the absorption of the extrinsic and intrinsic label which differed in magnitude between the foods tested. The extrinsic 67Zn was less well absorbed in peas, chicken meat, eggs, and human milk than intrinsic 67Zn, but in goat's milk the extrinsic 67Zn was better absorbed than the intrinsic label. These results demonstrate that extrinsically-added stable Zn isotopes do not fully exchange with endogenous Zn in many foods, and illustrate the need for caution when using extrinsic labels for Zn bioavailability studies.