To investigate risk factors for sporadic salmonellosis, for each notified case four randomly selected population controls matched for age, sex and geographical region were interviewed via self-administered questionnaire. Conditional logistic regression analysis of 285 matched pairs revealed significant associations for raw ground pork consumption [odds ratio (OR) 6·0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·8–20·1], taking antacids (OR 5·8, 95% CI 1·4–24·5), eating meat outside the home (OR 5·7, 95% CI 2·2–14·6) and daily changing or cleaning of dishcloth (OR 2·1, 95% CI 1·2–3·9). Animal contact and ice cream consumption were negatively associated with salmonellosis (OR 0·5, 95% CI 0·2–1 and OR 0·3, 95% CI 0·1–0·6, respectively). S. Typhimurium infections were significantly associated with raw ground pork consumption (OR 16·7, 95% CI 1·4–194·4) and S. Enteritidis infections with having travelled abroad (OR 9·7, 95% CI 2·0–47·3). Raw egg consumption was not a risk factor, substantiating the success of recently implemented national control programmes in the poultry industry. Unexpectedly, hygienic behaviour was more frequently reported by cases, probably because they overestimated their hygiene precautions retrospectively. Although animal contact might enhance human immunocompetence, underreporting of salmonellosis by pet owners could have occurred. Eating raw pork products is the major risk factor for sporadic human S. Typhimurium infections in Lower Saxony.