A broth-based method is used to determine if exponential phase Escherichia coli R31, an STEC, is able to grow within 50 days under various combinations of sub-optimal temperatures and salt concentrations. From these data, the growth limits for combinations of temperature (7.7-37.0 degrees C) and water activity (0.943-0.987; NaCl as humectant) are defined and modelled using a nonlinear logistic regression model. That form of model is able to predict the combinations of salt concentration/water activity and temperature that will prevent the growth of E. coli R31 with selected levels of confidence. The model fitted the data with an approximate concordance rate of 97.3%. The minimum water activity that permitted growth occurred in the range 25-30 degrees C, the temperature range which optimises cell yield. At temperatures below this range the minimum water activity which allowed growth increased with decreasing temperature.