The occurrence and the further spread of high-level glycopeptide-resistant, vanA-positive Enterococcus faecium strains outside of hospitals have been investigated. We could isolate such bacteria directly from thawing liquids of commercially produced frozen poultry (chickens, turkeys; no further data on previous feeding with avoparcin were available). In 5 of 13 samples of raw minced meat of pigs originating from 13 different butcher's shops, glycopeptide-resistant E. faecium (VanA type) could be detected after overnight broth cultivation of these samples. No glycopeptide-resistant enterococci could be isolated from meat samples of chickens that were fed without avoparcin. VanA type E. faecium strains were also identified in 12 fecal samples recovered from 100 nonhospitalized humans in the rural area of Saxony-Anhalt federal county. These results suggest a possible role of the food chain in the spread of glycopeptide-resistant E. faecium. Molecular typing (macrorestriction and multilocus enzyme analysis) reveal a wide dissemination of the vanA gene among strains of different ecological origins.