Omphalophlebitis, generally referred to as navel ill, is a common post-mortem meat inspection finding in very young calves slaughtered in New Zealand, and a gross pathological, histopathological and bacteriological evaluation of 147 carcasses condemned for this condition at routine post-mortem meat inspection was undertaken. Localised lesions restricted to the umbilicus alone were present in 29.9% of cases. The majority of cases included gross pathological change in the umbilical vessels and other tissue sites beyond the umbilicus. Most hepatic nodes were grossly normal but histological examination revealed that 61.5% of nodes from other than localised cases of navel ill were hyperplastic. However, there was little difference in the prevalence of hyperplastic hepatic nodes from cases of localised navel ill (21.4%) compared with normal calves (15.9%). Despite the wide range of bacteria isolated from umbilical lesions, Salmonella typhimurium recovered from the navel, liver and hepatic nodes of a single “extended” case of navel ill was the only isolation of known public health importance. Given the separation of cases of navel ill into different gross pathological, histopathological and microbiological categories, current meat inspection judgments whereby all calves with navel ill are condemned should be revised. In particular, routine condemnation of the carcass and viscera in all cases of localised navel ill (lesions restricted to the umbilicus alone) should be reassessed.