HPP application - Cooked meats and ready to eat meals

Part of: High pressure processing

Area of Expertise:

High pressure processing (HPP) can successfully kill many types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157. Thus, the technology can be used to give additional microbiological safety assurance to meats already treated with another preservation method, such as heat, without further adversely affecting eating quality. In some cases the use of HPP can reduce the amount of salt and other preservatives without affecting the shelf-life of the products.

HPP in industry

The pressure-treated foods are not sterile and must be refrigerated to ensure optimum quality. HPP is being used commercially throughout the world to treat cooked poultry, cooked beef, vacuum packaged ham, fermented sausage and salami. This is the most widely used food application of the technology, in terms of volume.

Opportunities for convenience meals

Studies on ready-to-eat foods, such as prepared meals, have shown promise.

A range of HPP-treated Spanish tapas are available within Europe while in the USA, pressure treated Mexican “meal kits” consisting of cooked beef or chicken, onions, peppers, guacamole and salsa have been produced. The ingredients were treated by HPP to ensure microbial safety and have a refrigerated shelf-life of 35 days.

Selected references

PATTERSON, M.F., McKAY, A., CONNOLLY, M.. AND LINTON, M. (2010) Effect of high pressure on the microbiological quality of cooked chicken during storage at normal and abuse refrigeration temperatures. Food Microbiology 27: 266-273.

VALDRAMIDIS, V.P., PATTERSON, M.F. and LINTON, M. (2015). Modelling the recovery of Listeria monocytogenes in high pressure processed simulated cured meat. Food Control 47:353-358.

PATTERSON, M.F., MACKLE, A. and LINTON, M. (2011). Effect of high pressure, in combination with antilisterial agents, on the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during extended storage of cooked chicken. Food Microbiology 28:1505-1508.