The juice industry, especially the boutique world of organic, cold pressed juice isn’t exactly the place you’d expect to find any sort of controversy. Though one of the more controversial topics of late has been the debate between processing juice with different forms of pasteurization. In the last decade of the explosive growth of the juice industry, there have been several lawsuits pertaining to the labeling and safety standards portrayed by different juice manufacturers. While it requires diving a bit deeper into actual micro-data to reveal the effects of each pasteurization process on the end product, we thought we could simplify some of the information so you can decide which method you would be more likely to justify as a necessary step in the processing of the juice you consume.
Cold Pressed juice is simply the juice extraction method, in which the product is not pasteurized at all. The process involves pressing the juice without any added heating element involved. The end result is a 100% raw product, that many people (including us) feel to be the purest and most beneficial. All microbial material, probiotics and enzymes remain active and live cultures in the unpasteurized juices. Though this may increase the overall benefits of the juice, the juice shop must pay special attention to the shelf life of the product. Large scale manufacturers have trouble providing product in a time frame allowed for true cold pressed juice, which is why customers typically find raw juices in smaller-scale juice shops such as The Bee.
Now we have have that clear, let’s talk pasteurization…
Standard pasteurization is the most recognized form of processing, most notably a standard in the dairy industry. Standard pasteurization requires heating the product to an average that typically remains under 100 degrees celsius in order to kill any microbial bacteria. This process has been standardized across major food industries to aid in preservation and shelf life of packaged foods. Many consider this method to be harsh on healthy and beneficial bacteria contained in food, making this an often undesirable method for processing juice.
But what is High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP)?
HPP is another method in which the name says it all. This pasteurization method involves applying a high amount of pressure to reduce microbial content and bacteria. Juice is pressurized (inside the plastic bottles) up to 600 MPa, which means that the juice is heated up by up to 18 °C (32 °F) from its starting temperature. High Pressure Pasteurization has become a more controversial method in terms of definition, due to the fact that some manufacturers feel the process is non-invasive enough to label their juice products as “cold pressed” or “raw” when in fact, they are pasteurized. Though HPP is a much less aggressive method and studies have shown that some forms of this method have not dramatically degraded the quality of the nutrient properties in juice, it does still kill some healthy and beneficial probiotics and enzymes. Juice “purists” (aka. Us) consider even this reduced amount of degradation in the product to be destructive to the nutrient content of juice.
There are pro’s and cons to each different method of pasteurization or non-pasteurization. Ultimately, it is the choice of the consumer to weigh the benefits of each method and spend their money on the product they feel meets the requirements of their preference. We do find that a lot of our customers get introduced to juicing and purchase their own juicer for their home. This is exciting; however, beware that the motivation is lost relatively quickly for most, considering the equipment forces one to consume the juice immediately, enabling “juice-prep” for the week. Also, most household juicers are not cold-pressed capable. Hopefully by presenting these different methods in a simpler form, you can make a decision that best suits you.