PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE IN THE OFFICIAL DIET OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

The "King of cheeses" in the diet of all the astronauts of the space agencies participating in the ISS missions. In these days it is used by the astronauts of the Space Mission Eneide which sees the involvement of the Italian Roberto Vittori

Reggio Emilia, 19 April 2005 - Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has been included in the diet of all the astronauts involved in the International Space Station missions. This is the last step along the path that sees the "king of cheeses" back in space with the participation of an Italian astronaut, colonel Roberto Vittori, who arrived on board the ISS yesterday with the Russian Sergei Krikalev and the American John L. Phillips for the Eneide Mission.
This mission strengthens further more the presence of Parmigiano-Reggiano in space since it is the first natural food product included in the diet used for space missions.
After having been carried on board by Italian astronauts as a "guest" during some voyages at the end of the 90s, since the year 2000 Parmigiano-Reggiano has been included in the diet of Russian cosmonauts to assess its nutritional and health features during the preparation phase and after the return from long-term space missions. Furthermore, following the agreement signed in June 2003 with the "Yuri Gagarin" Space Centre, this cheese has been included in the diet of Russian cosmonauts during space flights and the Consortium has become the Centre's official supplier.
The novelty brought in by this space mission is the confirmation of Parmigiano-Reggiano as a food included in the official diet of all space agencies. Indeed, the Multilateral Medical Operation Panel (MMOP) has recently approved a new diet, which is the result of the work and agreement of the various space agencies and includes Parmigiano-Reggiano in the diet of all the astronauts taking part in ISS missions.
The Nutrition Working Group, which includes experts from the Russian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, NASA and the Space Agencies of Canada and Japan, was entrusted with the task of establishing the diet to be adopted on board the ISS.
"The scientific reasons why Parmigiano-Reggiano was and is used as a "food for space" - stated Umberto Solimene, University of Milan and consultant of the "Yuri Gagarin" Russian Centre - lies in its features: high digestibility, high content of calcium in a form that is easily absorbed by the body (extremely useful to restore calcium in bones following the losses determined by the absence of gravity), absence of preservatives and additives, organoleptic pleasantness and palatability".
The inclusion of Parmigiano-Reggiano in the diet of cosmonauts during the preparation phase of flights, during the phase following long-term missions and during flights is the result of numerous experiments carried out to assess all the chemical, physical, microbiological, nutritional and organoleptic aspects of this cheese.
"It is an important result - declared Andrea Bonati, President of the Consortium - to prove the value and uniqueness of our cheese, both in terms of nutritional and organoleptic features, and in terms of naturalness, which is the key element in the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano".