What you can and can’t say about HPP-treated beverages without getting into legal hot water has been a subject of intense debate recently, with the FDA confirming that you “can't call [a juice] ‘fresh ‘if you put it under HPP [see 21 CFR 101.95], but acknowledging that with respect to the word ‘raw’, there is no specific regulation.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of some HPP-treated juices have been slapped with false advertising lawsuits alleging that shoppers have been duped into paying over the odds for a product that is essentially the same as regular heat pasteurized juice.
Plaintiff: BluePrint products are nothing more than run-of-the-mill, pasteurized juices
Hain Celestial, which owns the BluePrint Cleanse super-premium juice brand, was one of the most high profile targets, finding itself at the receiving end of a class action lawsuit filed in California last December by plaintiff Samuel F Alamilla alleging that it falsely advertises its HPP-treated juices as ‘Unpasteurized’ and ‘100% Raw’.
Alamilla also alleged that HPP’s effects are “identical to those of traditional pasteurization – inactivated enzymes, inactivated probiotics, altered physical properties of the product, and denatured proteins” and that the BluePrint products are therefore “nothing more than run-of-the-mill, pasteurized juices”.
Judge: The articles the plaintiffs cite contradict the allegation upon which their entire complaint hinges
However, in a July 3 order dismissing the case with prejudice (which means it is effectively closed), US district judge Vince Chhabria pointed out that to support his arguments, the plaintiff had submitted academic papers which undermined his own case.
Alamilla, noted Chhabria, “quotes and incorporates by reference an article that concludes that pressurization has ‘little or no effects on nutritional and sensory quality aspects of foods’,” while “both articles repeatedly make the point that pressurization has less impact on nutritional value than pasteurization”.
And this effectively contradicts his central argument, added Chhabria, who did not however directly address whether HPP products should be considered 'raw'.
“The articles the plaintiffs cite thus contradict the allegation upon which their entire complaint hinges—namely, that pressure treatment deprives juice of nutritional value to a similar degree as pasteurization. Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.”
Avure: HPP products should be considered raw
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA earlier this year, leading HPP provider Avure Technologies Inc (which is not named in the lawsuit), said HPP doesn't have the destructive effects claimed by some of its detractors.