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Assuring Holiday Safety, Standards Take a Seat at Every Table This Easter and Passover

With Passover lighting up Friday evening and Easter hopping in Sunday morning, more than 200 million Americans will observe holy days and gather with family, friends, and food this weekend. Whatever your belief system holds, you can have faith that standards will be on your side, helping to assure all your holiday celebrations are safe and satisfying.

Pass the Matzo
The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on the first two nights of the eight-day festival and featuring a ritual-packed feast. As part of their Passover tradition, many Jewish people make a special effort to ensure that the elderly, disabled, and those that may have other access issues can take part in the Seder. Helping them along is a publication from the International Code Council (ICC), ICC A117.1-2009, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities. This standard provides technical criteria for making sites, facilities, buildings, and elements accessible to those with special needs. ICC is a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Once safely at the table, Seder participants share symbolic foods like lamb shank and bitter herbs, and read from the traditional text. But for some Jews, the switching on or off of electric lights is not permitted during this part of Passover, so candles are the illumination of choice. Thankfully, a standard from ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International helps reduce the fire hazards associated with candle use. ASTM F2417-11, Standard Specification for Fire Safety for Candles, prescribes minimum safety requirements for candles to provide a reasonable degree of safety for normal use.

Green Eggs and Ham
While Easter maintains its religious importance to Christians, millions of Americans take part in the holiday's more fanciful features. And tops among them is the Easter egg. Whether dipped, dyed, or decorated, hollowed or hard-boiled, over 200 million eggs are bought for Easter activities in the U.S. every year. With the help of a standard from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, all that extra henhouse production can go on around the clock to ensure the Easter Bunny is stocked. ASAE EP344.3 JAN2005 (R2010), Lighting Systems for Agricultural Facilities, applies to lighting installations used to change the physiological or biological properties of livestock, birds, fish, and plants to alter their production capabilities.

Chickens may be on double duty as Easter rolls around, but at least they aren't the feature of the feast. That honor goes to the pig. Ham has been the Easter meal of choice for a majority of Americans for hundreds of years, stemming from that fact that in pre-refrigeration days, meat was cured in the fall and ready to eat in the spring. Thanks in part to a series of standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), today's ham can safely be tomorrow's ham sandwich...and the next day's…and the next day's. IEC 60335-1 Ed. 5.0 b:2010, Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 1: General requirements, offers safety guidelines and specifications for manufacturers of a wide range of electrical appliances for use in homes and public areas. The standard 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.

Dust off your Seder plate, strap on your Easter bonnet, or celebrate the season however you choose. Standards will help keep the spring in your step this holiday weekend and beyond.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]