How emojis could help people with food allergies These emoji cupcakes won't be much help in identifying food allergies, but future emojis could be a big help. (Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr/Kate Ter Haar)
How emojis could help people with food allergies
Lexile

Someday soon an emoji might literally save lives.

Hiroyuki Komatsu is an engineer. He works at Google. He submitted a proposal. He proposed to add a range of new icons. They would be added to the standard emoji library. It could help those with food allergies. It could help them understand what they are eating. This would be true anywhere in the world.

“Emoji should cover characters representing major food allergens.” That's what Komatsu wrote in his proposal. “It enables people to understand what [ingredients] are used in foods even in foreign countries and safely select meals.”

Emojis are universal. They are chosen by the Unicode Consortium. They also develop the emojis. It is a non-profit corporation. It oversees text. It develops text. And it maintains text. It does all of this for software products and standards. That's according to Alex Swerdloff. He was writing for Vice Munchies. You can thank the Unicode Standard when you text a friend six pizza emojis. Your friend sees those six pizza slices on their phone because of the Unicode Standard. This is true for an iPhone. And it is true for Android.

Emojis are everywhere. They are iconic. This makes them helpful for restaurants. And they are helpful for food packaging designers. They can communicate whether a product is made with common allergens. Many of the most common food allergens are missing. If they do exist they may be poorly represented. This is in regards to the current emoji library. These common food emojis include peanuts. It includes soy. And it includes milk. 

That's what Komatsu’s proposal argues. There is an emoji for octopus. But there is nothing for squid. There is a loaf of bread. It could symbolize gluten. But a bundle of wheat could be clearer. It could be more direct when labeling foods.

It’s not uncommon for the Unicode Consortium to add new emojis to the library. Several food-related emojis debuted last June. These included a long-awaited taco emoji. Apple included support for multiracial emojis. That was in a recent iOS update.  An artist even recreated Moby-Dick in emoji characters. Some might bemoan the continuing death of the written word. That's if Komatsu’s proposal is accepted. But you can look on the bright side. If you ever see that happy poop on a carton? You’ll know to stay away.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 13 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What do you think would be most helpful about having emojis for food allergies?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (0)
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT