High Pressure Technology is more commonly known in the manufacturing industry as ‘HPP’ for ‘High Pressure Processing’ as this is how the equipment providers have coined the technology. HPP is also the reference found under regulatory guidance with the FDA, USDA, Health Canada, the EU and all other global regulatory bodies. However, the technology is also often referred to as ‘HHP’ for ‘High Hydrostatic Pressure’ and ‘UHP’ for ‘UltraHigh Pressure’. These two later names are more commonly used within the academic and scientific communities and are commonly found in research papers. Using UHP, HHP, or HPP all refer to the same equipment that falls under the High Pressure Technology referred to on this website.
The use of High Pressure Technology does not present any unique issues for food processors concerning regulatory matters or labeling. The requirements are similar to traditional thermal pasteurization or sterilization in the United States, where the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are responsible for evaluating and monitoring the safety of all prepared food and beverages through applicable food safety validation methods. Both the FDA and USDA refer to High Pressure Technology in their guidance documents as 'High Pressure Processing Equipment' or HPP for short.
It's generally known that high pressure has very little effect on low molecular weight compounds such as flavor compounds, vitamins, and pigments compared to thermal processes. Accordingly, the quality of high pressure treated food is very similar to that of fresh food products and the quality degradation is influenced more by subsequent storage and distribution rather than the pressure treatment. Pressure also provides a unique opportunity to create and control novel food textures in protein-based or starch-based foods. In some cases, pressure can be used to form protein gels and increase viscosity without using heat.
To achieve microbial inactivation and/or to remove chemical preservatives while providing consumer desired qualities, high pressure maintains natural freshness and food quality while extending microbiological shelf life by inactivating most vegetable bacteria at pressures above 60,000psi.