In the past, trace minerals have been inadequately considered by poultry nutritionists, as demonstrated by the scarce availability of literature. The practice of using high safety margins between requirements and dietary concentrations and the relative low cost of these essential minerals are possible reasons for this. Environmental considerations and regulations limiting trace mineral supply and improvements in analytical methods to detect putative contaminants in mineral sources have led to a need to a re-examination of trace mineral requirements. In addition, new knowledge regarding trace mineral roles in bone metabolism, anti-oxidant status, homeostatic regulation, product quality, immunology and the development of novel trace mineral sources have favoured, for the past 15 years, interests in optimising trace mineral nutrition considering other parameters than solely the bird performance. This review analyses the role of essential trace minerals (mainly Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, I, Se) in broiler and laying hen nutrition. This work aims to highlight the evaluation of trace mineral requirement, the bioavailability of trace mineral sources, especially in regards with phytate antagonism, and the main functions of trace minerals in egg, eggshell and meat quality. The impact of trace minerals on the environment (toxicity to plants and microorganisms) is considered and nutritional means to reduce the risk of environmental contamination will be explored. Finally, the possibilities of poultry product's enrichment in some trace minerals for the benefit of human health will be explored.