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High Pressure Processing


High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a technology that delivers hydraulic pressures in excess of 6,000 atmospheres to food products immersed in a liquid medium. The technology was first used in the food industry to prolong shelf life of food products by inactivating food-borne pathogens. It is widely used in the USA to preserve guacamole, by inactivating spoilage organisms such as Listeria monocytogenes, to preserve and shuck oysters and as a non-thermal "pasteurisation" of orange juice. HPP is also used in the USA in meat products to extend shelf life. It has given rise to a range of "sandwich ready" sliced meat products with refrigerated shelf lives of up to 100 days.

There are three main specialist HPP companies in the world (accounting for about 90% of the installed HPP systems in the world) as follows:

While HPP is a currently available 'off the shelf' technology that can be used to develop shelf stable, new meat based products that have not as yet been available in Australia (although readily available overseas). Hence MLA completed a series of research initiatives that explored the mechanism of HPP upon meat fibres/structure regarding tenderness and shelf life extension for red meat.

Research and related activities

After some early work on HPP (project PRMS.033A in 2003), the Australian red meat industry was reintroduced to High Pressure Processing (HPP) at a workshop, held in November 2009, run by MLA and hosted by CSIRO at Werribee. The workshop was designed to introduce the technology, products and manufacturers to the industry and to demonstrate benefits and value adding opportunities for red meat. These workshops were funded under projects A.MPT.0025 and A.MPT.0039.

A further "Red meat under pressure" workshop was hosted by CSIRO and MLA on 27th November 2014 at CSIRO’s Food Innovation Centre in Werribee, Victoria under project A.RMH.0024.

Project work conducted with funding from MLA under projects A.MPT.0013, A.MPT.0032 and A.MPT.0041 investigated whether tender meat can be achieved from muscles which are normally low value, through the application of high pressure processing (HPP), combined with heat. This work was conducted using the small scale equipment at CFNS-Coopers Plains, using small pieces of meat, and texture assessed by objective measurements (Warner-Bratzler, WB) as well as the large scale (35L) equipment at Werribee. In addition, these trials were co-ordinated to provide rapid progress and results to assist in answering a number of  questions.

  • Determine if pressure alone can achieve tenderisation in low and high collagen cuts (tri- tip, topside, tenderloin, brisket)
  • Determine if tenderisation can be achieved using low pressures and high temperatures using CSIRO’s Werribee HPP facility
  • Determine the impact on tenderness, if any, of pre-freezing samples (-20°C)
  • Determine the impact of brine and HPP on texture of HPP-treated product


From the literature the greatest limitations for the application of HHP technology for meat texture enhancement have been capital equipment cost and need for its application to hot-boned (prerigor) meat for consistent benefit. An additional problem is that current batch sizes are a restriction for operations with high line speeds.  MLA has recommended the formation of an alliance with one or more of the equipment manufacturers to assist them address the needs of the Australian Red Meat Industry.  Additionally MLA is discussing the development of HPP products using business models that encourage a focus on local toll processing to defray the high HPP capital costs.  


Title Size Date published
181.2KB 01/06/2010
1.0MB 01/06/2011
408.7KB 01/06/2011
375.6KB 01/05/2011
226.8KB 01/08/2003
4.4MB 21/10/2015
4.4MB 26/08/2015
883.7KB 09/02/2016


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
High Pressure Processing – R&D Project
25/01/2011 29/10/2014
High Pressure Processing to improve meat tenderness
01/03/2007 29/10/2010
HPP concept product development trails
01/11/2010 17/01/2011
HPP Concept Product Development – Confirmation of Tenderisation and Texture Assessment
15/04/2011 16/11/2011
CMA - High Pressure Processing product development and workshop
15/11/2010 19/11/2010
Industry CMA
CMA - High Pressure Processing product development and workshop
12/08/2009 18/06/2010
Industry CMA
HPP Tenderness
23/03/2009 13/05/2015
High pressure processing Y14 workshop for red meat product applications
03/11/2014 12/01/2015

This page was last updated on 19/09/2018