The foodborne pathogenic bacterium Listeria is known for relatively low morbidity and high mortality rates reaching up to 25-30%. Listeria is a hardy organism and its control in foods represents a significant challenge. Many naturally occurring compounds, including the bacteriocin nisin and a number of plant essential oils, have been widely studied and are reported to be effective as antimicrobial agents against spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of semi-purified preparations (spp) containing either nisin A or an enhanced bioengineered derivative nisin V, alone and in combination with low concentrations of the essential oils thymol, carvacrol and trans-cinnamaldehyde, to control L. monocytogenes in both laboratory media and model food systems. Combinations of nisin V-containing spp (25 μg/ml) with thymol (0.02%), carvacrol (0.02%) or cinnamaldehyde (0.02%) produced a significantly longer lag phase than any of the essential oil/nisin A combinations. In addition, the log reduction in cell counts achieved by the nisin V + carvacrol or nisin V + cinnamaldehyde combinations was twice that of the equivalent nisin A + essential oil treatment. Significantly, this enhanced activity was validated in model food systems against L. monocytogenes strains of food origin. We conclude that the fermentate form of nisin V in combination with carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde offers significant advantages as a novel, natural and effective means to enhance food safety by inhibiting foodborne pathogens such as L. monocytogenes.