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Giant leap for yakitori: Canned chicken dish receives Japanese Space Food certification

Kyodo

Yakitori has become the first canned meat product certified by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), meaning astronauts will be able to enjoy grilled chicken during missions on the International Space Station.

“We hope they will enjoy (canned yakitori) during their recreation in zero-gravity space,” said an official of Hotei Foods Corp.

The Shizuoka-based company has sold the popular dish in cans since 1970.

Two commercially available flavors of its flagship product — soy sauce and yuzu pepper — received agency certification after meeting the criteria for space food. Such foods must not break apart in space, and must have a shelf life of at least 18 months at room temperature.

The products, which also met JAXA’s standards for production and hygiene management, received the certification in late October — more than two and a half years after being submitted for consideration.

The space food versions of the cans will include hook-and-loop fasteners on their sides to prevent them from floating away in the absence of gravity. Commemorative cans featuring the nation’s logo for space food will go on sale early next year for a limited period.

The company said that Japanese Space Food certification had been granted to 36 products from 20 companies and groups as of Oct. 25.