(NaturalNews) High Pressure Processing, or HPP, is a non-thermal pasteurization process that has hit the juice industry by storm. This process allows for juices to remain on store shelves much longer than if pressed and sold fresh. With the juice industry getting hotter and hotter, this new-age way of preservation is extremely attractive to companies selling these products. This leaves many people questioning if these beverages remain a quality product, or if it's just a fancy name for the demise of fresh juice?
How it works
The juices must be bottled in a flexible material like plastic to be able to withstand the HPP process. The bottles are then subjected to extremely high pressure through a water bath in large chambers. Exposure to this pressure lasts anywhere from a few seconds up to 20 minutes, therefore preserving and sterilizing the product.
The advantages of HPP
The high pressure used in HPP is reported to reduce the level of potential pathogens that may remain in food prior to packaging. Studies report that the process itself destroys certain pathogens, microorganisms and enzymes in the food with minimal affect to colors, flavors, and nutrients.
HPP processing extends the "sell-by" date from a few days up to a full month. This dramatic increase provides juice companies the ability to reach a wider audience with their product by providing more time for storing, transporting, holding, and selling product. Of course some would consider this a disadvantage to the quality of the product.
HPP has been approved by the FDA as a method for manufacturing and selling juice wholesale.
The disadvantages of HPP
Truly raw and unprocessed juices are considered by some the purest form of nutrition. They contain naturally occurring pre- and pro-biotic organisms which are vital to keeping our systems balanced and disease-free. Because they are considered "nature's medicine" by many, some believe that altering and/or destroying the "good" bacteria, as well as the "bad," takes away from the full health benefits of these beverages. When some of the natural nutrients are removed or killed, many argue that this process is messing with nature. Not all products respond well to the pressure. In fact, the darker green juices seem to rebel on a more consistent basis.
The words "fresh" and "raw"
The law is crystal clear in regards to using the word "fresh" on any food label. If a food has been subjected to HPP, legally a label can not include that it is a "fresh" product.
The word "raw," however, has no government regulation. This is causing a real stir surrounding the whole HPP labeling of bottled juices. Another disturbing fact is that the juices that are put through this process do not have to be labeled as being processed at all. Some customers are feeling deceived by the lack of information and some are even suing on the grounds that they purchased what they believed was a genuinely raw and unprocessed, high-quality juice.
The fact remains that the consumer is the boss. If you're squeezing juice into your regimen - whether for medicinal reasons or to focus on living a healthier lifestyle - be certain that you're spending your hard earned cash on a juice you feel is true to your standards of quality.
About the author: Heidi Fagley is a Holistic Nutritionist and has two culinary arts degrees - one in Raw, Living Foods and another in Natural Foods.
Heidi embraces the belief that wellness is a state of balance on multiple levels and enjoying what you eat and how you spend your time is a huge part of that journey. Connect with her on social media for recipes, tidbits and product review updates on healthy living: http://heidisdish.com/