© 2015, Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia.The effect of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil (REO) and modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) on the survival of certain pathogens (Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes) in poultry fillets and on their meat quality during 7 days of refrigerated storage were investigated. Because REO at 0.05% and 0.1% had weak antibacterial activity and REO at 0.3%, 0.5% and 1.0% imparted unacceptable organoleptic properties, only REO at 0.2% was used to treat the poultry meat. The results showed that adding 0.2% REO to poultry fillets did not reduce the size of the population of S. Typhimurium and L. monocytogenes. However, REO treatment significantly decreased the L* (lightness) value and increased the a* (redness) value of stored fillets, and adding REO in combination with MAP reduced the level of lipid oxidation. In conclusion, in a suitable combination, REO can be applied to improve the quality of meat, but further studies should be conducted to determine the appropriate commercial level for different meat products.