The antimicrobial action of chitosan and functionalized chitosan derivatives is well known; however, limited research has been undertaken on its use in meat environments. In this study, the antibacterial activity of a newly-developed arginine-functionalized chitosan was tested against pathogenic Escherichia coli O157 in chicken juice. The chicken juice was representative of the liquid which accumulates in food packaging and which is frequently implicated in food poisoning incidents. Aliquots of chicken juice (50 ml) were inoculated with a lux-marked strain of E. coli O157 to approximately 8.75 log 10 CFU ml -1. Samples were subsequently mixed with chitosan-arginine of varying concentrations (0-500 mg l -1) and incubated at 4 or 20 °C to mimic refrigeration and room temperatures, respectively. Pathogen persistence and metabolic activity (indexed by bioluminescence measurements) were subsequently quantified in the liquor at 0 (immediately after mixing), 3, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h post-incubation. The presence of chitosan-arginine significantly reduced both the numbers and metabolic activity of the pathogen in a dose-dependent manner with greater inhibition seen at higher concentration. In addition, it also suppressed the growth of general food spoilage bacteria, reduced malodor and prevented pathogen re-growth up to 72 h. The results imply that incorporating water soluble chitosan-arginine into packaging may help maintain both product shelf life and freshness as well as minimize the risk of food poisoning in both retail outlets and domestic homes.