Nine essential oils were examined for antimicrobial activity against reference and clinical strains of Salmonella Enteritidis. Based on the size of the inhibition zone and the minimal inhibitory concentration, basil oil had the strongest antimicrobial activity against all the tested bacteria, and S. Enteritidis SE3 was the most sensitive strain to all the tested oils. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis revealed that the major constituents of the oil were linalool (64.35%), 1,8-cineole (12.28%), eugenol (3.21%), germacrene D (2.07%), alpha-terpineol (1.64%), and rho-cymene (1.03%). When applied in nham, a fermented pork sausage, experimentally inoculated with S. Enteritidis SE3 and stored at 4 degrees C, basil oil inhibited the bacterium in a dose-dependent fashion. Basil oil at a concentration of 50 ppm reduced the number of bacteria in the food from 5 to 2log cfu/g after storage for 3 d. An unmeasurable level of the bacterium in the food was observed at days 2 and 3 of storage when 100 and 150 ppm of basil oil was used, respectively. Sensory evaluation suggested that the addition of 100 but not of 150 ppm to nham would be acceptable to consumers. The results from this study confirm the potential use of basil oil as an antimicrobial agent to control S. Enteritidis in food.