hpp and pet food

HPP and Pet Food: Q & A Dr. Errol Raghubeer

Q: How extensive is the pet food industry’s use of HPP? What has been the growth rate over the last five years?

A: It is definitely a growing market. Pet food manufacturers are increasingly turning to HPP to ensure product safety and expand market opportunities. HPP is used extensively in the pet food industry to

  • Serve as a food safety intervention step that is strongly recommended by the FDA for raw pet foods
  • Preserve the flavor, texture, and nutrients in raw pet food ingredients
  • Inactivate pathogens to keep both pets and humans safe
  • Extend refrigerated shelf life
  • Provide a safe alternative for immunocompromised dogs and cats that would otherwise not be able to eat a raw diet


Q: What types of pet food undergo HPP pasteurization? Is it all in-container pasteurization, or are bulk ingredients sometimes pasteurized?

A: Both methods are utilized. However, HPP is most widely used for the inactivation of pathogens in the raw materials of pet food. After HPP, the product can be sold as refrigerated or frozen pet food or can be sent to a cleanroom to be formed into shapes such as nuggets, bones, biscuits, etc. The “shaped” pathogen-free product can then be sold refrigerated or frozen or can be further dehydrated by heat- or freeze-drying.


Q: In comparison with wet pet food, how does the nutritional quality of HPP pet food stack up?

A: This nonthermal technology inactivates pathogens and spoilage organisms while leaving the nutrient quality of raw food ingredients intact. Comprehensive studies of HPP on proteins of raw, cooked, and cured meat showed no changes in protein solubility or protein degradation and release of peptides, amino acids, or nucleotides. Vitamins and micronutrients such as iron, calcium, etc., remained stable after HPP.


Q: Grain-free and high-protein formulations are growing pet food trends. How does that trend affect the value-add of HPP?
A: Grain-free and high-protein formulations go hand in hand with HPP.


For more details, check out Dr. Raghubeer’s interview in Pet Food Processing magazine