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Standards Push the Shopping Cart during the Holiday Gift-Buying Season

Each year, as fall turns to winter, millions of Americans head out to their local shopping center or fire up their browser in order to take part in the country's traditional holiday shopping season. And whether you're buying Christmas presents, belated Hanukkah gifts, or an aluminum pole for your annual celebration of Festivus, voluntary consensus standards will be on hand to help keep holiday shopping secure and safe.

For many holiday shoppers, buying gifts means getting in your car and driving to a suburban shopping center. To help assure the safety of these commercial developments, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed NFPA 1141-2008, NFPA 1141: Standard for Fire Protection Infrastructure for Land Development in Suburban and Rural Areas, 2008 Edition. This standard sets down recommendations for the design and installation of infrastructure for fire protection in new community developments, including those in suburban and rural areas.

Before you can peruse the products in the aisles of your local department store or toy shop, those products have to be assembled from their source components and transported - whether across the world or just from the factory in the next town - to a place they can be sold. An International Standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides guidance on the effective development and implementation of security processes associated with international supply chains, including information about how to create a supply chain security plan. ISO 28001:2007, Security management systems for the supply chain - Best practices for implementing supply chain security, assessments and plans - Requirements and guidance, was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 8, Ships and marine technology, Subcommittee (SC) 11, Intermodal and Short Sea Shipping. ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to both ISO TC 8 and SC 11.

If your holiday shopping list includes items like flat-screen TVs or exercise equipment that are too heavy to carry around the store, or if you're planning to pick up all your presents in a single trip, having shopping carts handy can be a real help. Thankfully, ASTM has developed a standard providing test methods, labeling requirements, and performance requirements for these types of carts. ASTM F2372-11a, Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Shopping Carts, is intended to cover shopping carts that can hold children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old and the provided test methods do not purport to cover all possible safety concerns associated with shopping carts.

For those who choose to do some or all of their holiday shopping the Internet, online shopping can represent an opportunity to avoid the packed parking lots and overcrowded aisles that often come along with holiday shopping. To support online commerce, IEEE, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, has developed a standard that helps to support efforts to assure the security of Internet transactions. IEEE 1363.2-2008, Standard Specifications for Password-Based Public-Key Cryptographic Techniques, includes specifications for the use of passwords to secure online transactions, including the use of methods for password-authenticated key retrieval.

Throughout the holiday shopping season, voluntary consensus standards play an important role in supporting efforts to make shopping for gifts for friends and family safe and secure.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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