Determining vitamin D content in foods is difficult because in natural foods of highest vitamin D activity, and even in vitamin D-fortified foods, only small quantities are present, and many other compounds are extracted along with vitamin D that cause difficulties in purifying the extract or in the spectrophotometry or colorimetry that follows. Several physicochemical methods--such as spectrophotometric, colorimetric, thin-layer chromatographic, adsorption, partition, gas-liquid, and high-performance column chromatographic--have been tried for assay foods for vitamin D, but none of them have been accepted for official or routine use; they are time consuming and expensive, or lack the required sensitivity, precision, or accuracy. Curative biological assays, based on degree of healing of a leg bone of rats previously made rachitic, is the generally accepted method to determine vitamin D content of foods. However, that method also requires too much time and is expensive. The recently developed high-performance liquid chromatographic method may offer the most for establishing a satisfactory physicochemical method for determining vitamin D in foods. Many of the difficulties and problems in assaying foods for vitamin D are discussed.