INACTIVATION OF PATHOGENS OUT OF COLD
High pressure treatment has been a leading technology in the food industry for some years now
Its star products include meat products, juices, gazpachos and salmorejos and sauces for dipear. The latter are the most representative in HPP treatment.
Cured meat products are derived from meat, subjected to fermentation and addition of salts, nitrites, nitrates and sugars; that stop some of the most common microorganisms in the industry.
- Salt and nitric substances, for example, have a bactericidal effect for anaerobic microorganisms, and indirectly fix the reddish color of this type of product.
- Fermentation is a preservation method that increases stability and microbiological safety, a consequence of different obstacles that take place during the maturation of cured sausages, mainly the reduction of aw and pH.
However, if the pH reduction is moderate, the safety barriers in these products are lost. In this case, two of the most problematic microorganisms in the food industry come into play: Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes. This is where HPP technology comes into its own.
High pressures are a well established technology for the preservation of meat products, whether complete, chopped or sliced. By treating the packaged product, post-processing recontamination problems are eliminated. Listeria has a high capacity to form biofilms that are very difficult to remove; and with HPP treatment, vegetative forms of this microorganism are destroyed, reducing total pathogen counts to undetectable.
Although it is true, the inhibition of the growth of bacteria and their destruction is due to the well-known barrier technology. It is a combined method of techniques used to make it difficult for microorganisms to survive. In this case, the sum of: low aw, acidity and addition of salts and nitrites, result in a fairly safe product.
Fuente: AZTI tecnalia.
It should also be noted that a product will be so much safer when it has lower fat content, so the low percentage of fat could be considered yet another barrier. Although sausages can have up to 50% fat in their composition and provide appearance, texture and flavor to the product, this is an excellent breeding ground for microorganisms, since it provides nutrients and has a medium percentage of water. which, mixed with the proteins and carbohydrates of the lean fraction, facilitates microbial growth. In this way, a meat product with lower fat content such as loin, will be less susceptible to contamination than ham, and this than chorizo, with the salchichón being in last place, with 35-38% fat.
When all these barriers are included with high pressure treatment, which eliminates the microorganisms that have survived the previous techniques and destroys pathogens that are very difficult to eliminate such as Listeria and Salmonella, the result obtained is a totally suitable product from the point of view food safety.
For this reason, the treatment with HPP achieves a much safer product than it was before, and this product can be stored at a positive temperature, even above 15ºC, without the risk of contamination prior to consumption.
Hugas, M., Garriga, M., Monfort, J.M. (2002). New mild technologies in meat processing: high pressure as a model technology. Meat Science 62, 359–371.
Rubio, R. (2014). Productos cárnicos fermentado-curados funcionales y seguros. Nueva vía de ingestión de probióticos. Universitat de Girona & IRTA.
Simpson, R. K., & Gilmour, A. (1997). The effect of high hydrostatic pressure on Listeria monocytogenes in phosphate-buffered saline and model food systems. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 83, 181–188.
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