Consumption of tomato products has been associated with decreased risk of some cancer types, and the tomato antioxidant, lycopene, is thought to play an important role in the observed health effects. In this study, four carotenoids, trans-lycopene, phytofluene, phytoene, and zeta-carotene, were quantified in tomato products. Samples of raw tomatoes, tomato juice after hot break scalder, and final paste were obtained from two different processing plants over two years. Comparison of carotenoid levels throughout processing indicated that lycopene losses during processing of tomatoes into final paste (25-30 degrees Brix) ranged from 9 to 28%. The initial Brix level of the raw tomatoes appeared to influence the amount of lycopene loss that occurred, possibly due to the differences in processing time required to achieve the final desired Brix level of the paste. In general, no consistent changes in the other carotenoids were observed as a function of processing. The antioxidant activity of fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and three fractions obtained from these products (i.e., aqueous, methanol, and hexane fractions) was also determined. In both a free radical quenching assay and a singlet oxygen quenching assay, significant antioxidant activity was found in both the hexane fraction (containing lycopene) and the methanol fraction, which contained the phenolic antioxidants caffeic and chlorogenic acid. The results suggest that in addition to lycopene, polyphenols in tomatoes may also be important in conferring protective antioxidative effects.