ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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If You Like Piña Coladas… Standards Have You Covered

Voluntary Consensus Standards Raise the Bar on National Piña Colada Day

New York, Jul 10, 2012

Chances are, wherever you are in the country today, it’s hot. And what’s better on a sweltering day than a frosty frozen cocktail (or “mocktail,” for youngsters and those preferring a non-alcoholic version)? In celebration of National Piña Colada Day on July 10, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) highlights the work of the voluntary consensus standards community that helps make these tropical treats a safe and tasty flavor sensation.

Legend has it that the piña colada originated in Puerto Rico at the San Juan Caribe Hilton Beachcomber hotel in 1954 – so it’s an American original! And the basic recipe hasn’t changed since. For those not as tiki-bar-savvy, the classic combination is pineapple juice, coconut cream, and rum, blended well with ice and ideally garnished with a slice of fresh pineapple, a cherry, and – if possible – a paper umbrella. And while most of us don’t live in pineapple-friendly tropical climates, an international standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) helps assure that we have access to the juicy fruit wherever we are. ISO 1838:1993, Fresh pineapples -- Storage and transport, defines guidelines for the successful keeping of the fruit with or without the aid of artificial cooling.

Beyond fresh ingredients, a key to a great piña colada is effective blending of the ingredients with plenty of ice into a frothy concoction. To help keep energy use in check while allowing for safe and effective ice-making, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has published ANSI/AHAM HRF-1-2004, Energy, Performance and Capacity of Household Refrigerators, Refrigerator-Freezers and Freezers. This American National Standard (ANS) establishes a uniform and repeatable procedure for measuring specified product characteristics of refrigerators and freezers, including methods for computing volumes and shelf areas, performance and durability test procedures, methods for determining energy consumption, and safety recommendations.

Once the ice, fruity components, and rum (if you like) are loaded in, it takes a good blender to achieve the ideal smooth piña colada texture. To help that along, an international standard from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) guides the safety of electric kitchen machines rated at no more than 250 volts, including blenders. IEC 60335-2-14 Ed. 5.1 b:2008, Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-14: Particular requirements for kitchen machines, was developed by IEC TC 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances. Secretariat duties for TC 61 are performed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an ANSI member and audited designator. UL also serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)–approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to TC 61, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.

Whether served in a tulip-shaped glass, a coconut shell, or just a regular-old plastic cup, a well-made piña colada will quench your thirst and temporarily transport you to the tropics. But if you choose the rum-based variety, be sure not to overdo the transporting: Drink in limited quantities with ample hydration, and leave the driving to someone else. And to help further assure cocktails can be enjoyed safely, ANSI audited designator ASTM International has published an updated ANS. ASTM E1879-00(2010), Standard Guide for Sensory Evaluation of Beverages Containing Alcohol, addresses safety, legal, panel selection, sample preparation, and test procedures specific to beverages containing alcohol, including beer, wine, coolers, cocktails, liqueurs, and distilled spirits.

It’s probably a good thing that every day isn’t National Piña Colada Day. But today is – so enjoy, safely, with standards!

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