A taxonomic study was conducted to clarify the relationships of two bacterial populations belonging to the genus Weissella. A total of 39 strains originating mainly from Malaysian foods (22 strains) and clinical samples from humans (9 strains) and animals (6 strains) were analysed using a polyphasic taxonomic approach. The methods included classical phenotyping, whole-cell protein electrophoresis, 16S and 23S rDNA RFLP (ribotyping), determination of 16S rDNA sequence homologies and DNA-DNA reassociation levels. Based on the results, the strains were considered to represent two different species, Weissella confusa and a novel Weissella species, for which the name Weissella cibaria sp. nov. is proposed. Weisella confusa possessed the highest 16S rDNA sequence similarity to Weisella cibaria, but the DNA-DNA reassociation experiment showed hybridization levels below 49% between the strains studied. The numerical analyses of Weisella confusa and Weisella cibaria strains did not reveal any specific clustering with respect to the origin of the strains. Based on whole-cell protein electrophoresis, and ClaI and HindIII ribotyping patterns, food and clinical isolates were randomly located in the two species-specific clusters obtained.