What is HPP?

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David Shechter
Oct 7, 2016
min read
What is HPP?

High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a pasteurization method that uses high pressure instead of heat to kill microorganisms in foods. This process goes by many other names too, including High Pressure Pasteurization, Pascalization, Bridgmanization, Cold Pasteurization, Ultra High Pressure (UHP) Processing, and High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP) Processing.

HPP is used for preserving and sterilizing food products. The high pressure inactivates bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, and parasites present in food; as well as food enzymes. Typical pressures applied to foods range from 300 – 800 MPa (43,500 – 116,000 psi). Food products can be HPP processed with or without packaging.

Heat may be applied; however, HPP is mainly conducted at refrigerated temperatures, relying on pressure alone to process the food. The absence of heat is key; as this means that the food retains important components like vitamins, antioxidants, and its color and flavor profile. 

Applications of HPP

Products that frequently utilize HPP technology include:

  • Juices and smoothies
  • Meat products like cold cuts, ground beef and poultry, and precooked meats
  • Seafood like lobster or oysters can be shucked with HPP
  • Fresh-cut fruit and packaged fruit products like applesauce
  • Fresh-cut vegetables and packaged vegetable products like guacamole or avocado halves
  • Fruit jellies and jams
  • Dairy products like yoghurt & yoghurt-based dressings, cream products, cream cheese and milk
  • Ready-to-eat foods like packaged meals, salads, soups, and hummus
  • “Raw” style pet food

Disadvantages of HPP

HPP is not the ideal preservation method for all kinds of food, neither is it effective against all microbial forms. Spore-forming organisms are highly resistant to HPP when they are in their spore form. The spores of Clostridium botulinum, for example, can thrive in low-acid foods and produce a deadly toxin. These spores require a combination of pressure and heat, or some other antibacterial intervention in order to eliminate them.

HPP can cause undesirable sensory changes in certain foodstuffs. In foods like eggs, the denaturation of protein can be visually apparent. Very high pressures can also damage the appearance of delicate foods like strawberries or leafy greens.

DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers: Working Hand in Hand with HPP

Pion's BEE brand technology has a modular approach which supports a wide variety of process configurations including applications like HPP. Our high pressure homogenizers meet stringent FDA requirements with options such as automated control, in-line process design, data gathering, SCADA and validation documentation.

We are here to help you find the right equipment for your specific application. Contact us today to learn more about high pressure homogenization and let us help you make the right decision. 

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