WHAT IS HPP?
High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a method of non-thermal food processing where food is subjected to elevated pressures of up to 87,000 pounds per square inch (psi). This pressure helps to disrupt the cellular activity of bacteria and food-borne pathogens. HPP retains food quality, maintains natural freshness, and extends microbiological shelf life.
HOW DOES THIS TECHNOLOGY BENEFIT CONSUMERS?
High pressure processing causes minimal changes in the fresh characteristics of foods by eliminating thermal degradation. Compared to thermal processing, HPP results in foods with fresher taste, and better appearance, texture and nutrition. High pressure processing can be conducted at ambient or refrigerated temperatures, thereby eliminating thermally induced cooked off-flavors. The technology is especially beneficial for heat-sensitive products.
HOW DOES HPP WORK?
Most processed foods today are heat treated to kill bacteria, which often diminishes product quality. High pressure processing provides an alternative means of killing bacteria that can cause spoilage or food-borne disease without a loss of sensory quality or nutrients.
In our HPP process, the packaged product is loaded into a cylinder, which is then loaded into a high pressure chamber. Clean water fills the chamber, and this pressure is transmitted through the package into the food itself. Depending on the product, the pressure is applied for a specific time, usually 3 to 5 minutes. Afterwards, the processed product is removed and distributed in its conventional manner.
WILL THE PROCESS DAMAGE THE FOOD PRODUCT?
During HPP, pressure is uniformly applied around and throughout the food product. Because of this, the food retains its shape. And because no heat is needed, the nutritional integrity of the food is retained without compromising microbial safety.
WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE OF AN HPP PRODUCT?
In general, HPP can provide shelf lives similar to thermal pasteurization. Thus, HPP can extend the shelf life by two to three fold over a non-pasteurized counterpart, and improve food safety. As commercial products are developed, shelf life can be established based on microbiological and sensory testing.