This work aimed at developing a thin and water-resistant food-grade poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVOH)-based matrix able to swell when in contact with high moisture content food products without rupturing to release antimicrobial agents onto the food surface. This film was prepared by blending PVOH and 7.20% (wt/wt of PVOH) of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) with citric acid as crosslinking agent. The film-forming solution was then casted onto a flat surface and the obtained film was 60 μm in thickness and showed a good transparency (close to T = 100%) in the visible region (400 to 700 nm). After immersion in water for 72 h at room temperature, the crosslinked matrix loses only 19.2% of its original weight (the percentage includes the amount of unreacted crosslinking agent, antimicrobial in itself). Water content, degree of swelling, and crosslinking density of the film prove that the presence of PEG diminishes the hydrophilic behavior of the material. Also the mechanical properties of the wet and dry film were assessed. Alongside this, 2.5% (wt/wt of dry film) of grapefruit seed extract (GSE), an antimicrobial agent, was added to the film-forming solution just before casting and the ability of the plastic matrix to release the additive was then evaluated in vitro against 2 GSE-susceptible microorganisms, Salmonella enteritidis and Listeria innocua. The results indicate that the developed matrix may be a promising food-grade material for the incorporation of active substances.