The microscopic structure of food significantly affects its processing characteristics, flavour release and texture. Food microstructure studies thus provide a key to understanding, and therefore controlling, food behaviour. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) is one of the most useful microscopy techniques for studying the microstructure of a wide variety of foods, in particular dairy products. A primary feature of the CLSM is its ability to "optically section" through samples. This gives a 3-dimensional view of a food product with minimal sample disturbance. This is of great benefit when examining shear-sensitive samples such as dairy spreads and soft cheeses, where other microscopy techniques would involve physical disruption of the sample. CLSM is also an effective problem solving tool and can be used to identify food contaminants. Ireland does not possess a specialised food microscopy facility. Hence, there exists a need in Ireland to develop expertise in microstructural analysis in order to maintain a competitive edge and provide a service to both research and commercial institutions.