The effect of high-pressure (HP) treatment (400 MPa, 600 MPa) on ripening of mature 42-day-old Irish blue-veined cheese was studied. Counts of non-starter lactic acid bacteria, lactococci, yeasts, moulds, enterococci and total aerobic bacteria significantly decreased due to HP, with moulds being most sensitive and 600 MPa the most effective treatment. The levels of pH 4.6-soluble nitrogen and (12%) trichloroacetic acid-soluble nitrogen increased immediately after both HP treatments; however, after 28 days of storage, values were lower in HP-treated cheeses than in the control cheese. Urea-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed increased breakdown of beta-casein due to HP treatment at both 400 MPa and 600 MPa. Levels of free fatty acids were lower in HP-treated cheese than in the control, but not significantly so, and no significant changes could be observed in the level of flavour compounds of blue-veined cheese. Overall, HP treatment of blue-veined cheese reduced microbiological activity and decelerated proteolysis, with no statistically significant effects on development of flavour compounds.Industrial relevance: High-pressure treatment has been studied for the past 100 years; nevertheless, it was not applied in dairy industry, until recently, for a cheese spread. In this study, HP-induced inactivation of microbes and enzymes, which could arrest the ripening of high-quality mature (i.e., ripened) Irish farmhouse blue-veined cheese and thus extend shelf-life at optimal quality, was examined. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.