Dietary iodine is essential for thyroid hormone production. Although U.S. dietary iodine is generally adequate, some groups, especially women of childbearing age, are at risk for mild iodine deficiency. Children's average urinary iodine is higher than that of adults. U.S. dietary iodine sources have not been assessed recently. A survey of iodine content in 20 brands of bread, 18 brands of cows' milk, and eight infant formulae was performed between 2001 and 2002. Three bread varieties contained more than 300 microg iodine per slice. Iodine content in other brands was far lower (mean +/- sd, 10.1 +/- 13.2 microg iodine/slice). All cows' milk samples had at least 88 microg iodine/250 ml, ranging from 88-168 microg (116.0 +/- 22.1 microg/250 ml). Infant formulae values ranged from 16.2 to 56.8 microg iodine/5 oz (23.5 +/- 13.78 microg/5 oz). The public should be aware of the need for adequate dietary iodine intake and should be aware that ingredient lists do not reflect the iodine content of foods.