Abstract Biopreservatives are being developed to inhibit the growth of foodborne pathogens and thus improve food safety. The lactoperoxidase system (LPS) is a naturally occurring system that has potential for use as an antimicrobial agent in foods. Growth of single strains of the pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, Yersinia enterocolitica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and beef microflora were assessed on LPS-treated meat surfaces in an experimental system. Beef cubes inoculated with approximately 10 4 cfu cm −2 of bacteria were treated with the LPS and incubated at 37 °C for 24 h, 12 °C for 7 days or in a chilling regime: 12 to −1 °C over 1 week and held at −1 °C for 4 weeks. Treatment with LPS was more effective at storage temperatures non-permissive for rapid bacterial growth with strong inhibition of growth achieved on LPS-treated cubes at 12 °C and reduction in pathogen viable counts at chilling temperatures. At chilling temperatures, the LPS inhibited the growth of native pseudomonads but did not prevent the development of native lactic acid bacteria.