5-Hydroxymethylfurfural has become a substance of interest since recent results showed a possible carcinogenic potential in consequence of a metabolic activation by sulfotransferases. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural is formed either by acid catalysed degradation of reducing sugars or via the Maillard reaction. This work provides an overview of foods potentially containing high amounts of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. It comprises dried fruits with a high sugar content that were exposed to heat for a long time. The concentration ranges from very low in, e. g. figs (1 mg/kg) to plums that contained up to 2,200 mg/kg. Several types of roasted coffee were analysed that contained from 300 to 2,900 mg/kg of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. In a small human study with seven healthy volunteers the urine excretion of unmetabolised 5-hydroxymethylfurfural was investigated. After uptake of 20 g of plum jam containing 24 mg of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, 163 microg (mean) were excreted within 6 h, an equivalent of 0.75% of the ingested 5-hydroxymethylfurfural.