The colonization of six edible plant species: alfalfa, broccoli, coriander, lettuce, parsley and rocket, by the human pathogen Shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli was investigated following two modes of artificial inoculation of seeds, by soaking or watering. The frequency and extent of colonization of cotyledons depended on the mode of inoculation, with three, rapidly germinating species being successfully colonized after overnight soaking, but slower germinating species requiring prolonged exposure to bacteria by watering of the surrounding growth media. Separate analysis of the cotyledons and leaves from individual plants highlighted that successful colonization of the true leaves was also species dependent. For three species, failure of transfer, or lack of nutrients or suitable microhabitat on the leaf surface resulted in infrequent bacterial colonization. Colonization of leaves was lower and generally in proportion to that in cotyledons, if present. The potential risks associated with consumption of leafy produce are discussed.