What is Cold Pressed Processing?

By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: January 29, 2020

In cold press processing, a hydraulic press uses pressure to separate the fibrous parts of fruits, vegetables, seeds, or nuts from a plant's juice or oil. The term is actually something of a misnomer, as the procedure doesn't take place in a refrigerated environment or involve the use of cooling technology. Cold press processing reduces exposure to heat and oxygen during the production process, permitting high levels of taste and nutrient retention. It typically requires more time and produces a smaller yield than alternative methods.

Producers use different alternative mechanisms to extract juice as opposed to oil. Centrifugal juicers offer an inexpensive and efficient way to produce juice. They use quickly spinning blades to liquify fresh fruits and vegetables. Mesh screens separate the pulp from the resulting liquid. The process, while efficient, brings the juice into contact with heat and oxygen. The heat initiates the breakdown of vitamins and other nutrients and the introduction of oxygen speeds product spoilage. A commonly used alternative oil distillation method employs solvents such as petroleum ether to remove oil remaining in pulp left over after pressure extraction. This results in a solution containing a solvent and oil mixture. Manufacturers then use evaporation to separate the solvent from the oil. Oils extracted with solvents seldom find their way into products intended for human consumption. 

While cold pressed juice offers several health benefits, it often contains potentially dangerous microbes and therefore has a short shelf life. Traditional heat treatment with pasteurization would negate most of the benefits of cold press processing by reducing freshness and product nutritional integrity. To remove the microbes that cause spoilage and decrease product shelf life, most producers treat cold pressed juices with high-pressure processing (HPP), an alternative microbe removal process. HPP, or Pascalization, involves placing juices already packaged in cold press beverage bottles into cold water and then applying intense pressure. It kills microbes and extends the shelf life of cold pressed items. Bottled juices that have undergone HPP have a 30 to 45-day shelf life. The FDA has approved it for use with cold pressed juices manufactured for wholesale. Oils extracted with cold press processing typically don't require microbe removal.

Cold pressed juices subjected to HPP maintain most of the color, taste, and feel of freshly squeezed products. The combination of cold pressing and HPP offer a way to bring customers nutrient-rich juices with shelf lives that allow for complex production processes and wider distribution ranges. Manufacturers must package Pascalized products in HPP cold press bottles that meet specific shelf life and microbial guidelines to meet FDA food safety requirements. Amber colored packaging helps extend the longevity of cold pressed oils by protecting the contents from oxidation-stimulating UV light.

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