Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 was only recognized as a human pathogen a little more than a decade ago, yet it has become a major foodborne pathogen. In the United States, the severity of serotype O157:H7 infections in the young and the elderly has had a tremendous impact on human health, the food industry, and federal regulations regarding food safety. The implication of acidic foods as vehicles of infection has dispelled the concept that low-pH foods are safe. Further, the association of nonbovine products with outbreaks suggests that other vehicles of transmission may exist for this pathogen. In laboratory diagnosis, most microbiologic assays rely on a single phenotype to selectively isolate this pathogen. However, the increasing evidence that phenotypic variations exist among isolates in this serogroup may eventually necessitate modifications in assay procedures to detect them.