Recent epidemiological data suggest a link between the consumption of bovine offal products and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection in Japan. This study thus examined the prevalence of STEC in various types of these foods. PCR screened 229 bovine offal products for the presence of Shiga toxin (stx) gene. Thirty-eight (16·6%) samples were stx positive, of which eight were positive for rfbEO157 and three were positive for wzyO26. Four O157 and one O26 STEC isolates were finally obtained from small-intestine and omasum products. Notably, homogenates of bovine intestinal products significantly reduced the extent of growth of O157 in the enrichment process compared to homogenates of beef carcass. As co-incubation of O157 with background microbiota complex from bovine intestinal products in buffered peptone water, in the absence of meat samples, tended to reduce the extent of growth of O157, we reasoned that certain microbiota present in offal products played a role. In support of this, inoculation of generic E. coli from bovine intestinal products into the homogenates significantly reduced the extent of growth of O157 in the homogenates of bovine intestinal and loin-beef products, and this effect was markedly increased when these homogenates were heat-treated prior to inoculation. Together, this report provides first evidence of the prevalence of STEC in a variety of bovine offal products in Japan. The prevalence data herein may be useful for risk assessment of those products as a potential source of human STEC infection beyond the epidemiological background. The growth characteristic of STEC O157 in offal products also indicates the importance of being aware when to test these food products.