For much of the twentieth century, coliform bacteria and especially Escherichia coli have been used as indicators of possible post-processing contamination and the presence of E. coli as an indicator of fecal contamination in foods. In this study, 500 foods in 10 different groups, mainly dairy products, delicatessen products, salads, spices, cream cakes and fresh fruit and vegetable samples, were analyzed for the natural contamination of fecal coliforms and E. coli by the standard most probable number (MPN) method. The difference between weighted means of fecal coliforms and E. coli counts were only 0.246 log(10) MPN/g-ml (MPN/gram for solid samples, and MPN/milliliter for liquids). Enumeration results were also evaluated by Pearson's correlation coefficient (r), Cronbach's alpha (alpha) and determination coefficient (r(2)) analysis. According to results, although 33 samples contained only non-E. coli fecal coliforms, the results of reliability analyses indicated that fecal coliform counts and E. coli counts may be used interchangeably (P<0.0001). It can be said that fecal coliform or, preferably E. coli analysis is sufficient for rapid routine determination of fecal contamination, at least for those food groups analyzed in this research.