Emoji characters for food allergens

Christopher Fynn chris.fynn at gmail.com
Mon Aug 17 04:22:35 CDT 2015

Surely there is already some international standards body or panel which
deals with food safety and labelling? (maybe ISO 22000 Food Safety
Management Systems)

If there is a real need for characters to represent food allergens,
wouldn't such a body be the right group to come up with appropriate glyphs
and then make a proposal to ISO 10646 / Unicode

- Chris

On 25 July 2015 at 22:13, William_J_G Overington <wjgo_10009 at btinternet.com>

> Emoji characters for food allergens
> An interesting document entitled
> Preliminary proposal to add emoji characters for food allergens
> by Hiroyuki Komatsu
> was added into the UTC (Unicode Technical Committee) Document Register
> yesterday.
> http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2015/15197-emoji-food-allergens.pdf
> This is a welcome development.
> I suggest that, in view of the importance of precision in conveying
> information about food allergens, that the emoji characters for food
> allergens should be separate characters from other emoji characters. That
> is, encoded in a separate quite distinct block of code points far away in
> the character map from other emoji characters, with no dual meanings for
> any of the characters: a character for a food allergen should be quite
> separate and distinct from a character for any other meaning.
> I opine that having two separate meanings for the same character, one
> meaning as an everyday jolly good fun meaning in a text message and one
> meaning as a specialist food allergen meaning could be a source of
> confusion. Far better to encode a separate code block with separate
> characters right from the start than risk needless and perhaps medically
> dangerous confusion in the future.
> I suggest that for each allergen that there be two characters.
> The glyph for the first character of the pair goes from baseline to
> ascender.
> The glyph for the second character of the pair is a copy of the glyph for
> the first character of the pair augmented with a thick red line from lower
> left descender to higher right a little above the base line, the thick red
> line perhaps being at about thirty degrees from the horizontal. Thus the
> thick red line would go over the allergen part of the glyph yet just by
> clipping it a bit so that clarity is maintained.
> The glyphs are thus for the presence of the allergen and the absence of
> the allergen respectively.
> It is typical in the United Kingdom to label food packets not only with an
> ingredients list but also with a list of allergens in the food and also
> with a list of allergens not in the food.
> For example, a particular food may contain soya yet not gluten.
> Thus I opine that two characters are needed for each allergen.
> I have deliberately avoided a total strike through at forty-five degrees
> as I opine that that could lead to problems distinguishing clearly the
> glyph for the absence of one allergen from the glyph for the absence of
> another allergen.
> I have also wondered whether each glyph for an allergen should include
> within its glyph a number, maybe a three-digit number, so that clarity is
> precise.
> I opine that two separate characters for each allergen is desirable rather
> than some solution such as having one character for each allergen and a
> combining strike through character.
> The two separate characters approach keeps the system straightforward to
> use with many software packages. The matter of expressing food allergens is
> far too important to become entangled in problems for everyday users.
> For gluten, it might be necessary to have three distinct code points.
> In the United Kingdom there is a legal difference between "gluten-free"
> and "no gluten-containing ingredients".
> To be labelled gluten-free the product must have been tested. This is to
> ensure that there has been no cross-contamination of ingredients. For
> example, rice has no gluten, but was a particular load of rice transported
> in a lorry used for wheat on other days?
> Yet testing is not always possible in a restaurant situation.
> William Overington
> 25 July 2015
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://unicode.org/pipermail/unicode/attachments/20150817/cd73ffb6/attachment.html>

More information about the Unicode mailing list