The spread of epidemically successful nontyphoidal Salmonella clones has been suggested as the most important cause of salmonellosis in industrialized countries. Factors leading to the emergence of success clones are largely unknown, but their ability to survive and grow after physical stress may contribute. During epidemiological studies, a mathematical model was developed that allowed estimation of a factor (q) accounting for the relative ability of Salmonella serovars with different antimicrobial resistances to survive in the food chain and cause human disease. Based on this q-factor, 26 Salmonella isolates were characterized as successful or nonsuccessful. We studied the survival and growth of stationary- and exponential-phase cells of these isolates after freezing for up to 336 days in minced meat. We also investigated survival and growth after dehydration at 10°C and 82% relative humidity (RH) and 25°C and 49% RH for 112 days. Stationary-phase cells were reduced by less than 1 log unit during 1 year of freezing, and growth was initiated with an average lag phase of 1.7 h. Survival was lower in exponentialphase cells, but lag phases tended to be shorter. High humidity and low temperature were less harmful to Salmonella than were low humidity and high temperature. Tolerance to adverse conditions was highest for Salmonella Infantis and one Salmonella Typhimurium U292 isolate and lowest for Salmonella Derby and one Salmonella Typhimurium DT170 isolate. Dehydration, in contrast to freezing, was differently tolerated by the Salmonella strains in this study, but tolerance to freezing and dehydration does not appear to contribute to the emergence of successful Salmonella clones.