A brief review on the occurrence of ochratoxin A in commodities and processed food on the European market (meat and meat products, cereal and cereal products, spices, beer, cocoa and derived products, coffee, wine, dried vine fruits, grape juice) is given in an historical perspective based on two EU project reports from the activity initiated by the European Commission: Scientific cooperation on questions relating to food (SCOOP). The most important commodities contaminated with ochratoxin A are known and the amount of occurrence data is in most cases comprehensive. However, gaps of knowledge exist, e.g. possible year-to-year variations for wine, dried vine fruits and grape juice are not well investigated. In addition, a follow-up on possible improvements in agricultural and processing practices is needed for some of the commodities recently discovered as being contaminated with ochratoxin A, such as coffee, wine, dried vine fruits and grape juice.