The influence of the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) on oxidation of milk fat under various conditions was monitored by fatty acid analysis and oxygen consumption at 50°C. The rate of copper-catalyzed oxidation of cream containing the membrane was faster than when the membrane was removed. In the dry state, the isolated MFGM, membrane lipids (ML) and the nonlipid membrane solids (NLMS) inhibited oxidation at 50°C and 95°C. In the presence of water, however, all membrane components enhanced oxidation at 50°C. The balance between the accelerating effects of membrane components and the inhibiting influence of other factors appeared to depend on processing conditions.