Now, researchers think that the same spice could be effective in fighting other bacteria, such as salmonella and campylobacter, after having shown that cinnamon, clove and garlic are good at killing E.coli O157 in raw beef and sausage.
The latest results came from Kansas State University, where researchers carried out tests on unpasteurised apple juice. In the US, such juice has been linked to at least one outbreak of the disease in which a girl died and 66 people fell ill.
They found that one teaspoon of cinnamon added to the juice killed 99.5 per cent of the bacteria within three days. Last year, the same researchers added spices to raw ground beef and sausage. They found that cinnamon, clove and garlic were the most powerful in killing E.coli.
In Britain, E.coli O157 was responsible for the world's worst food poisoning outbreak in 1996, when 18 people died after eating contaminated food from a butcher's shop.