Ground meat is the leading fresh meat product for microbial contamination when considered by physical properties and preparation conditions. This study was conducted to determine the phenotypic and genotypic characterization of Escherichia coli 0157 strains isolated from one hundred and forty meat samples obtained from retail markets and butchers, Erzurum, Turkey. As a result %5 of meat samples are determined to contain target microorganism. Fatty acid profiles, metabolic fingerprints (BIOLOG), ERIC-PCR, REP-PCR, BOX-PCR and (GTG)(5)-PCR profiling methods were used for the phenotypic and genotypic characterization of O157:H7 isolates. The data of fatty acid analysis showed the presence of 20 different fatty acids in the 13 bacterial strains examined. All test strains were identified up to E. coli species level with Biolog system. After evaluating several primer sets targeting the repetitive DNA elements of REP, ERIC, BOX and (GTG)(5), the ERIC and (GTG)(5) primers were found to be the most reliable technique for identification and taxonomic characterization of E. coli 0157:H7 strains. Therefore, rep-PCR fingerprinting using the ERIC and (GTG)(5) primers can be considered as a promising genotypic tool for the identification and characterization of E. coli from species to serotype level.