The potency of ochratoxin A (OTA) as a renal carcinogen in the rat in response to lifetime administration by oral gavage is a basis of current concern about possible human risk from dietary exposure to the mycotoxin. In this study, dietary delivery of OTA was chosen as the mode of administration, since this mimics human intake of OTA-contaminated food more accurately than gastric intubation. Young male Fischer rats were given approximately 300 microg OTA/kg body weight (bwt) daily until they reached 333 g; thereafter their daily intake was held at about 100 microg. Renal tumours, mostly unilateral carcinomas, were first discovered at week 75 and total incidence reached 25%. Statistical comparison of total carcinoma incidence (20%) in this study with that of the classic US NTP study suggested that OTA was significantly less carcinogenic when administered in feed than when given by oral gavage. The finding may moderate perceptions of a putative risk of trace amounts of OTA in some foodstuffs to human health.