A new proposal from a Google engineer would add several new icons to the emoji library, housed at Unicode.org. All of these icons would be aimed towards conveying food allergy.

Emoji, the computer icons used to convey information without language, have been in existence since the first computers were capable of displaying graphics beyond text characters. With the advent of smartphones and global communications, emoji became a popular way to convey complex emotions quickly and simply. A sarcastic comment, for example, could be taken seriously, but the addition of a “smiley” emoticon at the end allays that by labeling it as a joke.

Today, the emoji library is officially housed at Unicode.org where a dictionary, of sorts, defines recognized emoji.

Google engineer proposes food allergen emoji.

Hiroyuki Komatsu, an engineer at Google, has proposed new additions to the emoji library. Submitting them to Unicode, Komatsu told Smithsonian magazine that “It enables people to understand what [ingredients] are used in foods..”

Because emojis are consistent across the board, regardless of device, they are essentially a universal way to communicate. This is what makes emoji so useful when depicting food allergies, Komatsu asserts. He is proposing emoji for peanut, soybean, buckwheat, sesame, kiwi, celery, lupin, mustard, walnut, eggs, milk, and grain.

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