Ilex paraguariensis is popularly used in the preparation of a tea infusion (yerba mate), most commonly produced and consumed in the South American countries of Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. In this study, aqueous extracts of commercial tea, derived from the holly plant species I. paraguariensis were evaluated for their ability to inhibit or inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7 in a microbiological medium and modified apple juice. Dialyzed, lyophilized aqueous extracts were screened for antimicrobial activity against E. coli O157:H7 strains ATCC 43894 and 'Cider' in tryptic soy broth (TSB) and apple juice (adjusted to pH 6.0 to allow for growth of the bacterium). A mixture of the two strains was used as the inoculum when apple juice was used as the medium. MBCs were determined to be ca. 5 and 10 mg/ml for ATCC 43894 and 'Cider', respectively, in TSB. Higher concentrations of the extract were required to inactivate E. coli O157:H7 in pH-adjusted apple juice. An approximate 4.5-log reduction was observed for E. coli O157:H7 treated with 40 mg/ml extract. It was concluded that aqueous extracts from commercial yerba mate have potential to be used as antimicrobials in foods and beverages against pathogenic E. coli O157:H7.