EHEC O157 were isolated from faeces of Belgian and Polish beef slaughter cattle. In Belgium, 1281 faecal samples were analysed by immunomagnetic separation [IMS] after enrichment in buffered peptone water from June 1998 till July 1999. Eighty-one samples (6.3%) were positive for E. coli O157. Phage type 8 was most frequently found. Bulls between 1 and 2 years old, slaughtered in September and October were most frequently found positive. Atypical biochemical features were observed in some isolates: 22 (27%) isolates were urease positive and 1 (1.2%) isolate was unable to ferment lactose. In Poland, 551 faecal samples, taken from January 1999 till December 1999, were examined using exactly the same techniques. Four faecal samples (0.7%) were positive for O157 EHEC, yielding seven phage type 8 isolates. All positive samples were from cattle younger than 2 years. Positive samples occurred in August, September and October.