Stationary-phase acid resistance and the induction of acid resistance were assessed for recent bovine carcass isolates of Escherichia coli, including 39 serotype O157 strains and 20 non-O157 strains. When grown to stationary phase in the absence of glucose and without prior acid exposure, there was a range of responses to a pH challenge of 6 h at pH 2.5. However, populations of 53 of the 59 E. coli isolates examined were reduced by less than 2.00 log CFU/ml, and populations of 24 of these isolates were reduced by less than 1.00 log CFU/ml. In contrast, there was little variation in population reductions when the E. coli were grown with glucose and preadapted to acidic conditions. With few exceptions, acid adaptation improved survival to the acid challenge, with 57 of the 59 isolates exhibiting a log reduction of less than 0.50. Differences in acid resistance or the ability to adapt to acidic conditions between E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 commensal E. coli were not observed. However, we did find that the E. coli O157 were disposed to greater acid injury after the low pH challenge than the non-O157 E. coli, both for cells that were and were not adapted to acidic conditions before the challenge. The enhancement of low pH survival after acid adaptation that was seen among these recent natural isolates of E. coli O157 further supports the idea that the previous environment of this pathogen should be a consideration when designing microbial safety strategies for foods preserved by low pH and acid.