In an assessment of the potential role of yeasts in the spoilage of poultry meat, the population and species diversity of yeasts were determined on 50 commercial raw and processed chicken and turkey product samples. Initial populations (log10 cfu/g) ranged from less than 0.1 to 2.9, and increased by the expiration date to 0.4 to 5.1, respectively. 145 of 152 isolates were identified as belonging to 12 species. Yarrowia lipolytica and Candida zeylanoides were predominant, accounting for 39% and 26% of the isolates, respectively. Six different species of basidiomycetous yeasts were determined representing 24% of the isolates. The ability of the predominant yeast species to grow at refrigeration temperatures and their proteolytic and lipolytic activies suggest that yeasts may play a more significant role than previously recognised in the spoilage of poultry products.