Want your food kosher in space?

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While some of the food can be kosher, it is presently not possible for an astronaut on ISS to maintain a completely kosher diet.

It has nothing to do with the space station per se; it has to do with our food production facility,” Kloeris told Space.com. “We have a single packaging room on the U.S. side. All of the food that’s part of our standard menu that we provide — from what I understand, in order for them to be kosher and halal, they have to be done in separate, unique facilities. Therefore, everything we package would not meet that requirement.”

Kloeris noted that it’s possible to travel with a limited allotment of kosher or halal foods, in order to honor an astronaut’s heritage; every astronaut is allowed a certain number of crew-specific containers sent to the space station, which can account for about 10 percent of their diet.

The same limitations also apply to halal food for Muslims.



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  • geoffc

    This is not entirely true. If they wanted to, the prep room could be cleaned, non-kosher items removed, a run of food produced, then go back to buisness as usual. Many plants that make kosher food do it this way. Stagg Chilli in fact does it this way. The vast majority of the time, they do not bother getting the production line certified kosher, but on some schedule, they do an extra cleaning, get supervision in house, and do a large run of kosher stock. I met the guy who organizes this in Atlanta a few years ago. Welch’s grape juice does something similar around Passover time.

  • Alex

    Why is kosher food for space important? Are there so many Jewish astronauts? Next step, pork-free food for Moslem astronauts (BTW, are there any of them?)

  • Pzatchok

    Future workers and scientists.

    Robert would the water still be considered clean even after recycling?

  • Edward

    This is another example of how free market capitalism works better than a centrally controlled system. As geoffc mentioned, the free market already found a solution for several food producers to the general public, and once “space food” can be supplied by non-government sources (e.g. when Bigelow and other non-governmental space habitats become operational), then nations, companies, and organizations will have more freedom to supply their people with specialized foods and to meet other specialized needs.

    Government organizations are notoriously inflexible, attempting to create a one-size-fits-all solution to solve a mutually exclusive problem. Free markets are immensely flexible, attempting to create solutions that satisfy as many people as possible, even if that means they need separate processes and extra work.

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