With Mark Fleck,
HPP Specialist at Universal Pure
Food Manufacturing had the opportunity to correspond with Mark Fleck of Universal Pure to discuss the
topic of High Pressure Processing in the food and beverage manufacturing industry.
Q. What is High Pressure
A. HPP is a science-based tool
for food safety that uses cold, potable
water and high pressure applied to the
outside of the food package. Potable
water is water that is safe to drink or use
for food preparation. This non-thermal
food preservation method harnesses the
power of pressure to comprehensively
inactivate illness-causing, vegetative
pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria
monocytogenes), molds and yeasts without
compromising the nutritional value of the
food. HPP also maintains the optimum
attributes of fresh products over an
extended shelf life.
Q. What are the benefits of HPP in
A. The primary advantage of using
HPP is to enhance a food safety program
and extend product shelf life without
resorting to chemical preservatives or
thermal processes. Older food preservation
methods like thermal pasteurization can
often negatively impact the organoleptic
quality of foods and beverages. For instance,
in the beverage space today, HPP is playing
a role in the preservation of premium
juices, plant-based protein drinks, cocktail
mixers, nutrient dense shots, coffee & tea
selections and bone broths. In the food
manufacturing space, HPP is routinely used
for ready-to-eat meats, ground poultry, dips,
guacamole, salsa, hummus and seafood.
Adoption of HPP in other food and beverage
market segments will occur as new product
opportunities are researched and developed.
Many companies also implement HPP for
brand protection. The HPP process can be
performed in-house, or by using a growing
network of HPP outsourcers. The cost of HPP
varies depending on the size of production
runs, fill efficiency of the product within the
vessel and the HPP process parameters.
Q. How does HPP kill pathogens?
A. HPP inactivates vegetative bacteria
(E. coli 0157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes
and salmonella) and spoilage organisms
(yeast and molds) by compromising the cell
wall of the microorganisms which interrupts
cell function. HPP is only minimally effective
on enzymes, and not effective on bacteria
spores. HPP food and beverages typically
require refrigeration during storage and
Q. How does packaging impact HPP
and shelf life?
A. Product shelf life varies depending
on product ingredients, pH, water activity
and the HPP parameters selected. It is
generally understood that higher acid
products require lower HPP pressure and
hold times to achieve that longer shelf life.
Any packaging to be considered for HPP
must be hermetically sealed. To achieve the
maximum shelf life available when using
HPP, packaging with barrier properties is
often selected. By specifying low oxygen
transmission rate and moisture vapor
transmission rate films, you will also help
maintain optimal product quality over the
entire shelf life of the product.