1. During a period of 2·5 years, every 3 months 221 different food items forming a ‘market basket’ were purchased, prepared and divided into twenty-three food-commodity groups. The ‘market basket’ was based on a study of the dietary intake of 18-year-old male, Dutch adolescents. In the (homogenized) food groups various minerals and trace elements were determined.
2. The mean daily amounts of cadmium (21 μg), mercury (0·7 μg), lead (32 μg), tin (0·65 mg), arsenic (38 μg) and bromine (8 mg) in the diet of adolescents, as calculated from the concentrations analysed in the food groups, were all (well) below the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization acceptable daily intake (ADI) value (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1984).
3. The mean daily amounts of zinc (14 mg) and selenium (72 μg) seemed to be adequate compared with the Dutch recommendations, (Voedingsraad (Dutch Nutrition Council) 1986). The amounts of copper (mean value 1·5 mg/d) and iron (mean value 14 mg/d) in the total diet were marginal. Contents of calcium (1340 mg/d), magnesium (433 mg/d) and iodine (402 μg/d) were all well above the Dutch recommendations for male adolescents. Sodium intake, corresponding to 11 g sodium chloride/d, was higher than advised.
4. It is concluded that the amounts of As, Br and toxic heavy metals in Dutch total-diet samples of male adolescents are of little concern as regards health aspects. Among the essential trace elements, Fe and Cu contents seem to be marginal. Some concern regarding the salt content is indicated.