Two thousand Bacillus cereus sensu lato isolates from food and environmental matrices were screened by PCR for the presence of cereulide-producing strains. This survey identified 73 potential emetic strains, most of which originated from non-random food and clinical samplings. None of the 460 Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus mycoides and Bacillus pseudomycoides strains were PCR-positive for the cereulide genetic determinants. The chromosomal and extrachromosomal gene pool diversity of a subset of 30 cereulide-producing strains was then assessed using multilocus sequence typing, large plasmid gel electrophoresis and Southern blot hybridization. The strain toxicity on boar sperm and cereulide production were also analysed. The most striking observation was the identification of two distinct clusters of cereulide-producing strains, with members of the second group (cluster II) identified as psychrotolerant B. weihenstephanensis able to grow at 8°C. Moreover, the location of the cereulide genetic determinants was shown to vary depending on the strain, indicating a probable genomic mobility.