Everyone is becoming cautious of what they take into their body especially food substances, this has made humans very observant to what they buy from the grocery store. Humans now take time to observe the packaging, label, expiry date and most especially ingredients before buying a product. We prefer foods not stored with chemical preservatives to foods stored with chemical preservatives and that brought about the use of High-Pressure Processing Technology. The ability to preserve food at the same time reduce pathogen without compromising the nutritional or organoleptic properties of the food has been the research for scientist and manufacturers.
High-Pressure Processing Technology is a pasteurization technique which requires subjecting food with flexible and water-resistant packaging to extremely high water pressure up to 87,000 psi (6000 Bar/600 Mpa) for few minutes. By processing food in extremely high pressure of 87,000 psi is equivalent to placing a food to an ocean depth of about 60km. With the use of High-Pressure Processing Technology, bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli are killed.
How HPP Works
In other to subject food to high pressure processing technology, the food must be pre-packed in flexible packaging such as plastics or vacuum packs (Using non flexible packaging like glasses, ceramics and metals cannot be used). The packaging of the food must be able to withstand very high pressure and not lose its seal. When the food is well packaged, it is placed in a pressure chamber and sealed, after which it is filled with potable water. The water is being pressured by a pump connected to the pressure chamber at the same time pressuring the food.
HPP Effect on Microorganisms
High pressure applied to food at room temperature is known to reduce the number of most vegetative bacteria by up to 4 log unit or more while inactivating a lot of enzymes with little or no organoleptic change in properties of the food. The effectiveness of HPP on microorganisms will be dependent on the amount of pressure applied.
Why HPP is Important
By reducing the amount of microbial load in a food, food spoilage will be reduced drastically thereby giving the food a longer shelf-life. Continuous pressure will control pathogen to its minimum (different pathogen has different response to pressure), the organoleptic properties are not lost so the food still has its taste.
High pressure processing remains a very good option for food processing without preservatives while maintaining its organoleptic properties. Researchers have proved that HPP can inactivate bacteria with spores but not destroy them.