The emerging foodborne and waterborne pathogen, Arcobacter, has been linked to various gastrointestinal diseases. Currently, 19 species are established or proposed; consequently, there has been an increase in the number of publications regarding Arcobacter since it was first introduced in 1991. To better understand the potential public health risks posed by Arcobacter, this review summarizes the current knowledge concerning the global distribution and the prevalence of Arcobacter in food and water. Arcobacter spp. were identified in food animals, food-processing environments and a variety of foods, including vegetables, poultry, beef, dairy products, seafood, pork, lamb and rabbit. A wide range of waterbodies has been reported to be contaminated with Arcobacter spp., such as wastewater, seawater, lake and river water, drinking water, groundwater and recreational water. In addition, Arcobacter has also been isolated from pets, domestic birds, wildlife, zoo and farm animals. It is expected that advancements in molecular techniques will facilitate better detection worldwide and aid in understanding the pathogenicity of Arcobacter. However, more extensive and rigorous surveillance systems are needed to better understand the occurrence of Arcobacter in food and water in various regions of the world, as well as uncover other potential public health risks, that is antibiotic resistance and disinfection efficiency, to reduce the possibility of foodborne and waterborne infections.