Because of the intensive use of antimicrobial agents in food animal production, meat is frequently contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli. Humans can be colonized with E. coli of animal origin, and because of resistance to commonly used antimicrobial agents, these bacteria may cause infections for which limited therapeutic options are available. This may lead to treatment failure and can have serious consequences for the patient. Furthermore, E. coli of animal origin may act as a donor of antimicrobial resistance genes for other pathogenic E. coli. Thus, the intensive use of antimicrobial agents in food animals may add to the burden of antimicrobial resistance in humans. Bacteria from the animal reservoir that carry resistance to antimicrobial agents that are regarded as highly or critically important in human therapy (e.g., aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, and third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins) are of especially great concern.