The rationale for promoting the availability of local, affordable, non-fortified food sources of bioavailable iron in developing countries is considered in this review. Intake of iron from the regular consumption of meat from the age of 6 months is evaluated with respect to physiological requirements. Two major randomized controlled trials evaluating meat as a first and regular complementary food are described in this article. These trials are presently in progress in poor communities in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and China. © 2011 International Life Sciences Institute.