Inhibitory effects of essential oils of oregano (Origanum vulgare), mint (Menta arvensis), basil (Ocimum basilicum), sage (Salvia officinalis) and coriander (Coriandrum sativum), on the mycelial growth and ochratoxin A production by Aspergillus ochraceus NRRL 3174 were studied. Cultures were incubated on yeast extract-sucrose (YES) broth, at concentrations of 0, 500, 750 and 1000 p.p.m. of essentials oils during 7, 14 and 21 d at 25 °C. At 1000 p.p.m., oregano and mint completely inhibited the fungal growth and ochratoxin A production up to 21 d, while basil was only effective up to 7 d. At 750 p.p.m., oregano was completely effective up to 14 d, whereas mint allowed fungal growth but no ochratoxin A production up to 14 d. At 500 p.p.m., no evident inhibition could be observed with any of the essential oils under analysis. Sage and coriander showed no important effect at any of the concentrations studied. These inhibitory effects are interesting in connection with the prevention of mycotoxin contamination in many foods and they could be used instead of synthetic antifungal products.