Existing methods for detection of food-borne pathogens and their toxins are frequently time-consuming, require specialized equipment, and involve lengthy culture procedures and/or animal testing and are thus unsuitable for a rapid response to an emergency public health situation. A series of simple and rapid affinity immunochromatography column (AICC) assays were developed to detect Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin types A, B, E, and F and Escherichia coli O157 in food matrices. Specifically, for milk, grape juice with peach juice, and bottled water, the detection limit for the botulinum neurotoxin type A complex was 0.5 ng. Use of this method with a 10-ml sample would therefore result in a detection limit of 50 pg ml−l. Thus, this assay is approximately 2 orders of magnitude more sensitive than a comparable lateral-flow assay. For botulinum neurotoxin complex types B, E, and F, the minimum detection limit was 5 ng to 50 ng. Sensitive detection of E. coli O157 was achieved, and the detection limit was 500 cells. The AICC test was also shown to be specific, rapid, and user friendly. This test takes only 15 to 30 min to complete without any specialized equipment and thus is suitable for use in the field. It has the potential to replace existing methods for presumptive detection of botulinum neurotoxin types A, B, E, and F and E. coli O157 in contaminated matrices without a requirement for preenrichment.