Kimchi is a unique Korean traditional vegetable product that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and is mainly consumed as a side dish with boiled rice. Its main ingredients are brined Chinese cabbage, red pepper powder, and fermented fish sauce, and these are combined with many spices such as garlic, green onion, ginger, and some seaweed. The relationship between the concentration of LAB or the pH and the growth of three gram-positive foodborne pathogens (Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus) was evaluated. Heat treatment (HT; 85 degrees C for 15 min) or neutralization treatment (NT; pH 7.0) was conducted on day 0 (0-D group) and day 3 (3-D group) of incubation. The pH in the control group and the NT group dropped sharply to 4.12 to 4.30 after 2 days of incubation and slightly decreased thereafter, whereas the pH in the control group and HT group stayed at 7.0 during incubation. LAB were not detected in the HT kimchi during incubation. B. cereus in the NT-0-D, NT-3-D, and HT-3-D groups was reduced by 1.5 to 3.1 log CFU/ml but increased slightly in the HT-0-D group. L. monocytogenes in HT-3-D and NT-3-D groups disappeared after 5 days of incubation, and S. aureus in the NT-0-D group disappeared after 4 days. These findings indicate that growth of all the foodborne pathogens was inhibited by NT-0-D, HT-3-D, and NT-3-D, but B. cereus was not inhibited by HT-0-D. Thus, growth of LAB in kimchi is an important factor in the control of foodborne pathogens.