Extraintestinal Pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) have the potential to spread through fecal waste resulting in the contamination of both farm workers and retail poultry meat in the processing plants or environment. The objective of this study was to characterize ExPEC from retail poultry meats purchased from Alberta, Canada and to compare them with 12 human ExPEC representatives from major ExPEC lineages. Fifty-four virulence genes were screened by a set of multiplex PCRs in 700 E. coli from retail poultry meat samples. ExPEC was defined as the detection of at least two of the following virulence genes: papA/papC, sfa, kpsMT II and iutA. Genetic relationships between isolates were determined using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Fifty-nine (8.4%) of the 700 poultry meat isolates were identified as ExPEC and were equally distributed among the phylogenetic groups A, B1, B2 and D. Isolates of phylogenetic group A possessed up to 12 virulence genes compared to 24 and 18 genes in phylogenetic groups B2 and D, respectively. E. coli identified as ExPEC and recovered from poultry harbored as many virulence genes as those of human isolates. In addition to the iutA gene, siderophore-related iroN and fyuA were detected in combination with other virulence genes including those genes encoding for adhesion, protectin and toxin while the fimH, ompT, traT, uidA and vat were commonly detected in poultry ExPEC. The hemF, iss and cvaC genes were found in 40% of poultry ExPEC. All human ExPEC isolates harbored concnf (cytotoxic necrotizing factor 1 altering cytoskeleton and causing necrosis) and hlyD (hemolysin transport) genes which were not found in poultry ExPEC. PFGE analysis showed that a few poultry ExPEC isolates clustered with human ExPEC isolates at 55-70% similarity level. Comparing ExPEC isolated from retail poultry meats provides insight into their virulence potential and suggests that poultry associated ExPEC may be important for retail meat safety. Investigations into the ability of our poultry ExPEC to cause human infections are warranted.