JA Obihiro’s red bean gets certified as Japanese space food

TOKYO, May 20 — Japanese red beans grown in Hokkaido have been certified as Japanese space food for crew members at the International Space Station (ISS).

The JA Obihiro Kawanishi of Hokkaido announced on May 19 that its red beans obtained approval from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to be used for a Japanese festive dish, called sekihan, to be sent to the ISS.

At first, the Japanese farmers group sought the Safe Food Quality (SFQ) certification from the Geneva-based International Standards Organization (ISO).

“The SFQ certification demonstrates our commitments to providing the highest quality of red beans to food processing makers to make sekihan,” said Toshinobu Arizuka, the hed of the JA Obihiro Kawanishi.

The JAXA started its Japanese space food certification program with food processing makers, aiming to improve food situation for astronauts in space.

In order to get certified, a product must meet rigorous standards such as strict hygiene management and long-term storage without refrigeration.

Some experts see those requirements could also open up further opportunities for new markets such as an emergency food.

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