October 25, 2007 08:25
Korean food manufactures are competing to whip up space-edible foods for Ko San, Korea's first astronaut who will lift off in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in April.
The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute is working on kimchi with domestic food maker CJ and instant noodles with Nongshim. The Korean Food Research Institute is also developing space-safe fried kimchi, hot pepper paste and soy bean paste, rice, red ginseng and green tea with Daesang and Ottogi.
Russia will evaluate the safety and storability of the foods. If they pass the tests, traditional Korean food will be served to the astronauts on the spacecraft.
As the food makers race to create their space-friendly edibles, there are mixed opinions about the best way to sterilize it. Food makers working with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute argue that freeze-dried foods don't taste good. But those working with the Korean Food Research Institute insist that consumers don't like irradiated foods.
However, there is a common view that developing space food will lead to enhancing the technological competitiveness of the Korean food industry. Currently researchers are developing space-edible hot pepper paste in tubes and soy bean paste in the form of instant soup. Preparing these foods is costly, so it remains to be seen whether the space-safe foods will be made available to consumers.
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