Emoji characters for food allergens

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Mon Aug 3 10:08:14 CDT 2015

On 03 Aug 2015, at 10:57, Nathan Sharfi  wrote:

> I've recently tried to closely follow the care tags on my clothes instead of dumping most of them in the cold/cold batch. When I look at the care tags, I squint at the hieroglyphs[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_symbol] for five seconds, give up, and then start looking for instructions written in English — that is, useful instructions.

I'm sorry to really disagree with this little understandable criticism of laundry symbols. The most encountered of the care tags are self-explaining, as the washing and iron temperature limits or discouraging. The other symbols mainly concern dry cleaning and laundry professionals.

Many clothes are shipped across the world, so English would not always be suitable as a language.

Further, symbols stay longer readable while text is often washed out.

> I'd imagine a chef trying to 'read' dietary-needs symbols would be similarly trying, only with dire consequences for getting it wrong.

That's another case. All chefs understand English, so presenting allergen lists in English is a working strategy. 

The concern added by William is about how to present such a list, as he wishes a symbol for "I'm allergic to" and a symbol for "My diet can include". For this I suggest the poison and heart symbols. To follow your advice, these may be used as bullets for lists written in English.

> I can see why someone might want to communicate their allergies in a language-agnostic manner while traveling abroad, but for that to work, everyone would need to memorize a bunch of pictographs on the off chance that a foreign traveller is incapable of conveying his or her allergies in a mutually understood spoken/written language. This seems like a worse strategy than carrying around a card that says "I can't have nuts or eggs".

I understand the issue.

Best regards,

Marcel Schneider

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