10:57 JST, January 21, 2023
Any firm hopes its merchandise are considered out of this world. For Yamamoto-Noriten Co., a Tokyo-based producer of nori seaweed merchandise that dates again to the Edo interval, it’s been there, carried out that.
Seasoned nori dried seaweed that the corporate developed on the request of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA) was delivered final 12 months to a multinational crew of astronauts on the Worldwide Area Station (ISS).
It marked the end result of 5 years of analysis and improvement, and heralds what the corporate says is that begin of an “period when astronauts from different international locations eat conventional Japanese nori.”
JAXA has been finishing up a challenge to certify “Japanese area meals” for consumption by Japanese astronauts, with the intention of providing acquainted tastes of dwelling to assist relieve stress in outer area.
The merchandise complement the usual meals offered by america and different international locations for astronauts aboard the ISS. In 2007, JAXA chosen the primary 29 of those “bonus meals” made by 12 meals producers.
Presently, the choice consists of 50 objects from 28 sources, starting from yakisoba noodles to curry to yokan, a candy pink bean paste product.
The area nori developed by Yamamoto-Noriten is available in a sealed bundle containing 10 sheets, and options the identical refined taste because the seasoned nori that the corporate produced for the primary time in Japan in 1869.
Shinobu Soyano, 47, was accountable for improvement. In 2013, when he was a piece chief accountable for gross sales and product improvement, Soyano was approached by JAXA, which stated, “[Japanese] astronauts are telling us, ‘We need to eat mochi rice cake wrapped in nori in area.’ Are you able to make it?”
Soyano, who had by no means been concerned with something coping with area, thought, “That will be nice if they may eat it in area so far-off.” Readily accepting the problem, he set out on improvement the next 12 months.
The corporate manufactures its product underneath the requirements utilized by the Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration (NASA), that are primarily based on the stringent meals security system often called HACCP (Hazard Evaluation Vital Management Factors).
To be licensed as an area meals, it needed to cross a battery of assessments that, amongst different elements, test for microorganisms or verify the moisture content material and texture after 18 months of storage. “The documentation was grueling, and I as soon as needed to write about 400 pages on my own,” Soyano recalled with a smile.
Among the many many necessities that the corporate needed to implement had been utilizing a steel detector to maintain out international substances in the course of the manufacturing course of and mandating the carrying of gloves in every step of the operation.
After in depth analysis, the corporate was in a position to obtain certification in 2019 for a seasoned nori coated with a sauce that stops flakes from flying round within the weightlessness of area.
Tasting the nori for himself, Soyano thought, “It’s the identical style as seasoned nori recent off the road.”
(subhead) Passing the style check
The finished area nori was chosen as a bonus meal for Soichi Noguchi, who flew aboard the U.S. industrial spacecraft “Crew Dragon” to the ISS in November 2020.
Soyano watched on TV as Noguchi poured area soy sauce onto his meal of area rice and area nori. It was a second of nice pleasure as he noticed it as a payoff for his years of exhausting work.
With the favorable evaluations, JAXA determined to rearrange to have it offered to astronauts from different international locations as nicely. Final 12 months, it was chosen for the primary time as a bonus meal for a multinational crew of astronauts on the ISS.
Soyano imagines a future scene of the nori being eaten extensively by Japanese and worldwide astronauts alike. “Nori goes nicely with any dish,” he stated confidently.
Soyano stated the subsequent objective is to make a “snack nori” for area through which dried granulated plum or mentaiko (salted cod roe) is put between sheets of nori. “The hurdle turns into increased, however I’ll hold attempting,” he stated.