In order to estimate the prevalence of swine herds infected with pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica, 103 lots of market swine were randomly selected at slaughter during six 1-month intervals. Pigs within each lot were sampled by swabbing the oral-pharyngeal surface, poststunning and postexsanguination but prescalding. Ninety-five lots (92.2%) contained at least one pig infected with Y. enterocolitica. Pathogenic strains were defined as those harboring the all gene which has been identified in Y. enterocolitica that causes human clinical disease. Identification of those strains harboring the all gene was accomplished using a polymerase chain reaction technique. Twenty-nine lots (28.2%) contained at least one pig from which all-containing (pathogenic) Y. enterocolitica were isolated. Of the 107 pathogenic E enterocolitica isolates identified, 89.7% were serotype O:5 and 3.7% were serotype O:3. The results from this study will aid in the design of future epidemiological investigations concerning on-farm prevalence and associated risk factors for pathogenic Y. enterocolitica. Additionally, the results support the hypothesis that swine are a significant potential reservoir for human infections by Y. enterocolitica.