ISS crew asks for more curds with nuts

Curds laced with nuts, Rossiisky processed cheese, fresh tomatoes, as well as apples, lemons and onions will be delivered to the International Space Station crew by a Progress M1-11 space freighter, which is to blast off from Baikonur (a Russian cosmodrome on Kazakhstan's territory) on January 29.

"Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and US astronaut Michael Foale have asked that more of the very tasty freeze-dried curds with nuts be brought to them, because they like it very much," Alexander Agureyev, head of the nutrition department of the Institute of Medical and Biological Studies, said in a RIA Novosti interview on Monday.

Replying to the question if the "food order" would encroach on the space allotted for two dummies designed to measure radiation doses received by the cosmonauts in the course of the flight, Agureyev noted that the freighter is spacious enough to accommodate everything.

According to him, freight handling is the responsibility of specialists from the Russian space concern Energiya.

Agureyev added that taking "live vitamins" to space has its own fine points. For example, fresh tomatoes and brown onions can be safely orbited, but not cucumbers, because they wither too fast.

According to specialist observations, American astronauts order more citrus fruit - grapefruit, oranges and lemons - than their Russian opposite numbers, while Russians ask for more apples.

All fresh vegetables and fruit are purchased from certified purveyors, and before packing undergo very strict sanitary control.

Farm products are meticulously checked for nitrates and other chemicals, and the food reaching the "space table" is ecologically clean, Agureyev added.

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