The current spreading of nanomaterial applications supports the search for further possible functions of theses diminutive particles. The antibacterial potentiality of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles (NPs), compared with conventional ZnO powder, against nine bacterial strains, mostly foodborne including pathogens, was evaluated using qualitative and quantitative assays. ZnO NP was more efficient as antibacterial agent than powder. Gram-positive bacteria were generally more sensitive to ZnO than Gram negatives. The exposure of Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus to their relevant minimal inhibitory concentrations from ZnO NP reduced the cell number to zero within 8 and 4 h, respectively. Scanning electron micrographs of the treated bacteria with NPs exhibited that the disruptive effect of ZnO on S. aureus was vigorous as all treated cells were completely exploded or lysed after only 4 h from exposure. Promising results of ZnO NP antibacterial activity suggest its usage in food systems as preservative agent after further required investigations and risk assessments.