Lactobacillus sakei is a psychotrophic lactic acid bacterium found naturally on fresh meat and fish. This microorganism is widely used in the manufacture of fermented meats and has biotechnological potential in biopreservation and food safety. We have explored the 1,884,661-base-pair (bp) circular chromosome of strain 23K encoding 1,883 predicted genes. Genome sequencing revealed a specialized metabolic repertoire, including purine nucleoside scavenging that may contribute to an ability to successfully compete on raw meat products. Many genes appear responsible for robustness during the rigors of food processing--particularly resilience against changing redox and oxygen levels. Genes potentially responsible for biofilm formation and cellular aggregation that may assist the organism to colonize meat surfaces were also identified. This genome project is an initial step for investigating new biotechnological approaches to meat and fish processing and for exploring fundamental aspects of bacterial adaptation to these specific environments.