Studies were conducted to determine whether four strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) inhibited Escherichia coli O157: H7 and Salmonella in ground beef at 5°C and whether these bacteria had an impact on the sensory properties of the beef. The LAB consisted of frozen concentrated cultures of four Lactobacillus strains, and a cocktail mixture of streptomycin-resistant E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella were used as pathogens. Individual LAB isolates at 107 CFU/ml were added to tryptic soy broth containing a pathogen concentration of 105 CFU/ml. Samples were stored at 5°C, and pathogen populations were determined on days 0, 4, 8, and 12. After 4 days of storage, there were significant differences in numbers of both pathogens exposed to LAB isolates NP 35 and NP 3. After 8 and 12 days of storage, all LAB reduced populations of both pathogens by an average of 3 to 5 log cycles. A second study was conducted in vacuum-packaged fresh ground beef. The individual LAB isolates resulted in an average difference of 1.5 log cycles of E. coli O157:H7 after 12 days of storage, and Salmonella populations were reduced by an average of 3 log cycles. Following this study, a mixed concentrated culture was prepared from all four LAB and added to ground beef inoculated with pathogen at 10 8 CFU/g. After 3 days of storage, the mixed culture resulted in a 2.0-log reduction in E. coli O157:H7 compared with the control, whereas after 5 days of storage, a 3-log reduction was noted. Salmonella was reduced to nondetectable levels after day 5. Sensory studies on noninoculated samples that contained LAB indicated that there were no adverse effects of LAB on the sensory properties of the ground beef. This study indicates that adding LAB to raw ground beef stored at refrigeration temperatures may be an important intervention for controlling foodborne pathogens.