In order to define possible food-provoking factors, we placed twenty-nine children with chronic atopic dermatitis on an elimination diet. The children remained on their normal diet for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks on the elimination diet. Foods were then re-introduced at the rate of a new one every 2 days in an attempt to identify foods exacerbating eczema. Thirteen children (45%) completed the elimination diet and seven of these were improved on parental assessment of sleeplessness, itchiness and area of eczema. Five were improved on the dermatologist's assessment. Only two children were able to identify foods provoking their eczema. Sixteen children (55%) failed to complete the elimination diet. Eight felt it was too strict, while eight did not return for follow-up. From our experience, dietary manipulation in older children with chronic atopic dermatitis offers only limited long-term therapeutic gains.