Advances in detection and quantification assays based on nucleic acids conceivably will revolutionize the ability to quickly and specifically detect and quantify microorganisms in foods. Among these assays, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and the TaqMan PCR Detection System (Perkin-Elmer) probably are among the most promising. Since a 5'-nuclease PCR renders possible the automated and direct detection and quantification of PCR products (Holland et al., 1991. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 7276-7280), microorganisms in foods can be detected and quantified indirectly within a few hours through analysis of the microbial DNA or RNA sequences present. In the present report we have adapted a 5'-nuclease-based kit for the quantification of Salmonella.