Emoji characters for food allergens

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Mon Aug 3 09:21:52 CDT 2015

On 29 Jul 2015, at 10:21, William_J_G Overington  wrote:

>> Alternately, scanning the EAN barcode on the package could give access to a database intended for food information. This requires the use of a smartphone or other compatible device.

> That is a good idea.

> In which case the emoji would not need to be encoded on the package, yet would be sent by the database facility. Using EAN barcode to database and the results sent to the end user would need a two-way communication link and that could possibly mean queueing problems as the database facility would possibly be answering requests from many people.

> Another possibility would be to encode the Unicode characters for the allergens contained in the food within a QR code (Quick Response Code) on the package.

> Decoding could then be local, in the device being used to scan the QR code.

> [...]

Somehow this device-relying information system wouldnʼt make me really happy. IMHO the most straightforward communication relies on the packaging, and for this a standardized set of emojis would have been useful.

For more clarity, a textual list may complete the labelling, probably using the Latin scientific names. Every allergic person must then be given by his practician or other health care provider a personal list of allergens, a kind of allergen profile, both in local language and in Latin, plus the pictograph. 

We should perhaps take into consideration that allergen lists may be very long, and translating them to emojis will make them somewhat bulky, particularly on small packages. So the emojis will be used only if desired or required.

Best regards,

Marcel Schneider

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