Abstract A quantitative risk assessment was developed for verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli ( E. coli VTEC) following hamburger consumption. The assessment considers initial contamination levels, cross-contamination and decontamination events during the cattle slaughter process and the distribution, storage and consumption patterns in Argentina and in similar countries in Latin-American. The model predicted an infection risk of 8.12 × 10 − 7 , a probability of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) of 4.6 × 10 − 8 and a probability of mortality of 5.9 × 10 − 9 per meal for adults. For children, the estimates per meal were 3.23 × 10 − 7 , 1.8 × 10 − 8 and 6.31 × 10 − 10 for infection, HUS and mortality, respectively. The risk of infection and HUS, were sensitive to the type of storage at home ( r = − 0.416), slaughterhouse storage temperature ( r = 0.240) and bacterial concentration in the cattle hide ( r = 0.239). There was an association between home preparation of hamburgers ( r = − 0.116) and the risk of illness, although this was a result of the type of storage at retail ( r = − 0.110) and at home and not their intrinsic characteristics. The most sensitive stages of the process were identified through the risk assessment and these can be used as a basis for measures of risk management.