The Astronaut Origins of Food Safety

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Dec 5 2022 • 37 mins

The development of a systematic approach to food safety didn’t happen until the 20th century. And it's tied directly to NASA trying to make sure astronauts didn’t get food poisoning in space.


  • Cronk, Theodore C. “The Historic Evolution of HACCP: Better Questions, Safer Foods.” Food and Drug Law Journal , 1994, Vol. 49, No. 3 (1994). Via JSTOR.
  • DiCicco, Mike. “How the Moon Landing Led to Safer Food for Everyone.” NASA Spinoff. 11/23/2020.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization. “Understanding Codex.” Rome. 2018.
  • Fortin, Neal D. “The Hang-Up With HACCP: The Resistance to Translating Science Into Food Safety Law.” Food and Drug Law Journal , 2003, Vol. 58, No. 4 (2003).
  • Hulebak,, Karen L. and Wayne Schlosser. “HACCP History and Conceptual Overview.” U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Institute of Medicine (US) and National Research Council (US) Committee on the Review of the Use of Scientific Criteria and Performance Standards for Safe Food. Scientific Criteria to Ensure Safe Food. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003. 1, Historical Perspective on the Use of Food Safety Criteria and Performance Standards. Available from:
  • Johnson, Renee. “The Federal Food Safety System: A Primer.” Congressional Research Service. December 16, 2016.
  • Myhrvold, Nathan et al. “The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules--Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food.” Scientific American. 3/13/2011.
  • “A Dividend in Food Safety.” January 1, 1991.
  • Ross-Nazzal, Jennifer. “’From Farm to Fork’: How Space Food Standards Impacted the Food Industry and Changed Food Safety Standards.” From Societal Impact of Spaceflight. Government Printing Office, 2007.
  • Safe Food Alliance. “The History of HACCP.”
  • Weinroth MD, Belk AD, Belk KE. History, development, and current status of food safety systems worldwide. Animal Frontiers. 2018 Aug 30;8(4):9-15. doi: 10.1093/af/vfy016. PMID: 32002225; PMCID: PMC6951898.

See for privacy information.