ABSTRACT: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is formed enzymatically, chemically, photochemically, and by irradiation of food. It is also formed by the decomposition and the inter-reactions of ROS. The hydroxy radical is the most reactive ROS and then followed by singlet oxygen. Reactions of ROS with food components produce undesirable volatile compounds and carcinogens, destroy essential nutrients, and change the functionalities of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Lipid oxidation by ROS produces low-molecular-weight volatile aldehydes, alcohols, and hydrocarbons. ROS causes crosslink or cleavage of proteins. ROS produces low-molecular-weight carbonyl compounds from carbohydrates. Vitamins are easily oxidized by ROS, especially singlet oxygen. The singlet oxygen reaction rate was the highest in β-carotene followed by tocopherol, riboflavin, vitamin D, and ascorbic acid.