Cholesterol oxidation products (oxysterols) are present in our diet and have been identified in processed foods such as egg, dairy and meat products. Recent studies suggest the cytotoxicity of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the development of atherosclerotic plaques may be due to the presence of oxysterols. Oxysterols, apoptotic and/or necrotic cells have been identified in these plaques. We have demonstrated that certain oxysterols are potent inducers of apoptosis. Our findings add to the increasing body of evidence that these compounds play a detrimental part in atherogenesis and their presence in foodstuffs needs to be monitored and minimised.