The bacterial genera Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio, Yersinia and Francisella include important food safety and biothreat agents causing food-related and other human illnesses worldwide. We aimed to develop rapid methods with the capability to simultaneously and differentially detect all six pathogens in one run. Our initial experiments to use previously reported sets of primers revealed non-specificity of some of the sequences when tested against a broader array of pathogens, or proved not optimal for simultaneous detection parameters. By extensive mining of the whole genome and protein databases of diverse closely and distantly related bacterial species and strains, we have identified unique genome regions, which we utilized to develop a detection platform. Twelve of the specific genomic targets we have identified to design the primers in F. tularensis ssp. tularensis, F. tularensis ssp. novicida, S. dysentriae, S. typhimurium, V. cholera, Y. pestis, and Y. pseudotuberculosis contained either hypothetical or putative proteins, the functions of which have not been clearly defined. Corresponding primer sets were designed from the target regions for use in real-time PCR assays to detect specific biothreat pathogens at species or strain levels. The primer sets were first tested by in-silico PCR against whole genome sequences of different species, sub-species, or strains and then by in vitro PCR against genomic DNA preparations from 23 strains representing six biothreat agents (E.coli O157:H7 strain EDL 933, Shigella dysentriae, Salmonella typhi, Francisella tularensis ssp. tularensis, Vibrio cholera, and Yersinia pestis) and six foodborne pathogens (Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella saintpaul, Shigella sonnei, Francisella novicida, Vibrio parahemolytica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis). Each pathogen was specifically identifiable at the genus and species levels. Sensitivity assays performed using purified DNA showed the lowest detection limit of 640 fg DNA/µl for F. tularensis. A preliminary test done to detect Shigella organisms in a milk matrix showed that 6–60 colony forming units of the bacterium per milliliter of milk could be detected in about an hour. Therefore, we have developed a platform to simultaneously detect foodborne pathogen and biothreat agents specifically and in real-time. Such a platform could enable rapid detection or confirmation of contamination by these agents.