High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) is a non-thermal process that can effectively reduce pathogenic Escherichia coli in ground beef. This commercially-available process uses water under extreme pressure to denature proteins by breaking covalent bonds, eventually resulting in microbial death. While HHP has been successfully applied to plant based foods with limited flavor changes, little is known about the influence of HHP on the sensory properties and resultant consumer acceptability of HHP-treated beef. Accordingly, we performed blind sensory tests with 70 regular consumers of ground beef, using commercially-processed ground beef patties. Although HHP-treated patties were still acceptable (i.e. rated above neutral on a 9 point hedonic scale), they received significantly lower ratings for overall liking, texture, flavor and juiciness when compared to control patties. Also, Just-About-Right (JAR) scales indicate the HHP patties were more dry and less flavorful than the control patties. Collectively, these data suggest consumers may find HHP-treated ground beef to be less acceptable than untreated ground beef on the basis of their sensory properties. Since these data were collected blind, additional work is warranted to determine the degree to which consumers are willing to balance a loss of sensory quality against their nascent food safety concerns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science