What is High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP)?

With Starbucks unveiling their new juice line, many people are asking about their pasteurization process known as HPP or High Pressure Pasteurization. Many of Pressed Right’s customers have asked about this new technology and while Pressed Right does not offer pasteurization equipment nor endorse any specific approach to pasteurization, we hope this provides a short intro to the subject.

From what can be gathered from scientific studies it seems that HPP offers a leap forward in pasteurization technology by avoiding a product’s exposure to heat. Instead, HPP utilizes isostatic or hydrostatic pressure which is equal from every direction, subjecting the product to pressures up to 100,000 psi. which destroy pathagenic microorganisms by interrupting their cellular functions. According to industry leader Avure Technology,  HPP juice can be pasteurized in accordance with FDA regulations without compromising taste, texture, color, and nutritional content. Therefore, Starbucks should be able to offer a better product than previously seen in the the pasteurized juice market.

For the thinking juicer, however, HPP offers an unsatisfactory alternative to what is known as raw juice. Raw juice enthusiasts desire not just the enjoyable taste, texture, and color of their favorite juice concoction, but the myriad health benefits including an important influx of live enzymes. Packed with living enzymes that act immediately to facilitate vital metabolic function, unpasteurized raw juice offers more than mere taste and texture. To the educated raw juicer, drinking juice without the live enzymes is a waste of time- and money!- as it shortchanges the detox, cleansing, and cellular repair processes. As Hippocrates once said, “let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.” $8 makes sense if it helps repair your body and replaces a meal, not if it merely puts you a few tasty grams closer to diabetes before dinner. Without live enzymes, save your money.

However, when asked about how HPP affects the enzymic integrity of juice, all studies state something along the lines of this statement found on the Department of  Food Science and Technology website at the Ohio State University: “Because no heat is needed, the sensory characteristics of the food are retained without compromising microbial safety.”

Or see this revealing statement by High Pressure Dynamics, Inc:

Within a living bacteria cell, many pressure sensitive processes such as protein function, enzyme action, and cellular membrane function are impacted by high pressure resulting in the inability of the bacteria to survive.  Small macromolecules that are responsible for flavor, order, and nutrition are typically not changed by pressure.

In other words, don’t worry about those pesky enzymes! Perhaps this is why Starbucks is planning to press their juice in San Bernardino, CA and serve it in Seattle, WA- the shelf life doesn’t have to take into account enzymic degradation, an issue they are wisely ignoring in all their promotions lest they lose educated Juicers. For sure, this will be the issue juice enthusiasts everywhere will want to come back to again and again. It seems Starbucks and HPP proponents wish to avoid this vital issue and in order to get an answer, the juicing public will have to turn up the heat… or rather, as they wish, put on the pressure.

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