Spices are added into foods mainly for enhancing the organoleptic quality of the food. The application of spices and their derivatives in foods as preservatives has been investigated for years. In this study, we determined the antibacterial activity of the essential oils of three spices, cassia bark (bark of Cinnamomum aromaticum Nees), bay (Laurusnobilis L) fruits and cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), against Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Listeria monocytogenes, and four Listeria species. The chemical composition of these essential oils was analysed by the GC-MS method. The results showed that all of the oils had potent inhibitory effects against all of the tested bacteria. The essential oil from cassia bark exhibited the greatest antimicrobial activity, while the oil from bay fruits had the lowest activity against the bacteria. The main active compounds in the essential oils from cassia bark, bay fruits and cloves were identified to be cinnamaldehyde (78.11%), cinnamaldehyde (61.78%) and eugenol (75.23%), respectively.