In this study, we examined the prevalence of Salmonella and coliform bacteria on shrimp aquaculture farms to develop guidelines or preventative measures for reducing Salmonella and fecal contamination on products harvested from these farms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in conjunction with foreign government regulatory agencies, the aquaculture industry, and academia affiliates, analyzed 1,234 samples from 103 shrimp aquaculture farms representing six countries between July 2001 and June 2003 for fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella. A significant relationship was found (P = 0.0342) between the log number of fecal bacteria and the probability that any given sample would contain Salmonella. The likelihood of any given sample containing Salmonella was increased by 1.2 times with each 10-fold increase in either fecal coliform or E. coli concentration. The statistical relationship between Salmonella concentration and that of both fecal coliforms and E. coli was highest in grow-out pond water (P = 0.0042 for fecal coliforms and P = 0.0021 for E. coli). The likelihood of finding Salmonella in grow-out pond water increased 2.7 times with each log unit increase in fecal coliform concentration and 3.0 times with each log unit increase in E. coli concentration. Salmonella is not part of the natural flora of the shrimp culture environment nor is it inherently present in shrimp grow-out ponds. The occurrence of Salmonella bacteria in shrimp from aquaculture operations is related to the concentration of fecal bacteria in the source and grow-out pond water.