Citrus essential oils (EOs) have an antimicrobial effect against a range of food poisoning causing bacteria. A blend of citrus EO vapour against vancomycin resistant (VRE) and vancomycin susceptible (VSE) Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis on lettuce and cucumber was assessed. Food samples were subjected to the vapour for 45 s in a 600-L vapour chamber at 25 Â°C. Microbial counts were taken directly after the foodstuff was removed and at various times thereafter. Results show that the initial load per sample was reduced by 3.69-4.14 log 10 and 3.80-4.40 log 10 for VRE and VSE strains, respectively; reductions were maintained for 6 h. Sensory panel testing demonstrated that there were no significant changes in taste. Growing demand from changes in legislation, consumer trends and increasing isolation of antibiotic resistant pathogens, means that alternatives to chemical-based bactericides need to be found and the antimicrobial citrus vapour may provide the answer. Â© 2009 Institute of Food Science and Technology.