This review compares iron and zinc food sources, dietary intakes, dietary recommendations, nutritional status, bioavailability and interactions, with a focus on adults in economically-developed countries. The main sources of iron and zinc are cereals and meat, with fortificant iron and zinc potentially making an important contribution. Current fortification practices are concerning as there is little regulation or monitoring of intakes. In the countries included in this review, the proportion of individuals with iron intakes below recommendations was similar to the proportion of individuals with suboptimal iron status. Due to a lack of population zinc status information, similar comparisons cannot be made for zinc intakes and status. Significant data indicate that inhibitors of iron absorption include phytate, polyphenols, soy protein and calcium, and enhancers include animal tissue and ascorbic acid. It appears that of these, only phytate and soy protein also inhibit zinc absorption. Most data are derived from single-meal studies, which tend to amplify impacts on iron absorption in contrast to studies that utilize a realistic food matrix. These interactions need to be substantiated by studies that account for whole diets, however in the interim, it may be prudent for those at risk of iron deficiency to maximize absorption by reducing consumption of inhibitors and including enhancers at mealtimes.