The concentrations of eleven elements in thirty traditional red pepper flake (Capsicum annuum L.) samples from three regions of Turkey were analysed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Samples were digested in a microwave system. The decreasing sequence of the mean metal concentrations (mg kg(-1)) in all the samples is as follows:Fe(109) > Al(89.3) > Mn(9.46) > Zn(7.44) > Cu(5.48) > Ni(4.38) > Cr(1.05) > V(0.52) > Pb(0.27) > As(0.18) > Cd(0.15). All the metal pairs showed positive correlations (except for Cu-Al, Zn-Al and Cu-Mn pairs). Multivariate statistical analysis including principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) was applied to the data to evaluate the analytical results. Thirty red pepper flake samples were classified into three groups by PCA (eigenvalues higher than > 1.00). The first PC loads heavily on V, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, and Cd. The second PC was primarily loaded by Fe and Al. The third PC correlated very strongly with Ni, As, and Mn. Cluster analysis resulted in the sorting into similar groups. The results show that PCA and CA are useful tools for the regional differentiation of red pepper flakes and for the identification of heavy metal sources. The accuracy of the results was confirmed by analysis of 1573a Tomato Leaves certified reference material.