With the aim of improving the loss of quality in retorted vegetables, experiments on pretreatment inactivation using microwaves were carried out to allow the heating intensity to be reduced during retorting. Microwave heating reduced the bacteria level by 10(3) CFU/g, and was a more effective method considering the short processing time of 3 min and the required energy being 70-80% of that when using steam. The inactivation effect was due to dielectric heat generation by the high-frequency microwaves. The inactivation effect for heat-resistant Bacillus amyloliquefaciens was indicated by a reduction of 10(2) CFU/g after 3 min of microwave heating. The total bacteria counts for peeled potato and spicy sauce with vegetables decreased by 3-4 log CFU/g after 3 min using microwaves, and heat-resistant microorganisms were reduced by 2 log CFU/g. Combining microwave heating and mild retorting is expected to produce higher quality vegetable foodstuffs compared to conventional retorting.