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Standards Come Home for the Holidays

It's the most wonderful time of the year…and standards help make it so! As families come together for meals, homes are decorated to the nines, and gifts are wrapped and exchanged, standards are working behind the scenes to assure a safe and smooth holiday season.

Even the most loyal restaurant and fast food patrons are likely to tie on an apron and step up to the stove around the holidays. Those celebrating Hanukkah often make latkes, a traditional dish that symbolizes the oil used in the Hanukkah story to keep a flame lit for eight nights. These potato pancakes are typically fried in oil on the stovetop, and thanks to IEC 60335-2-13 Ed. 6.0 b:2009, Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-13: Particular requirements for deep fat fryers, frying pans and similar appliances, cooks can be assured of their safety during preparation. Developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, this standard applies to household appliances and kitchen tools in which oil is used for cooking. The U.S. holds the Secretariat of IEC TC 61, with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator UL serving as the delegated secretary and associated U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for the committee.

For many, holiday decorations are synonymous with lights, and lots of them. This custom dates back to 18th century Germany, when candles were affixed to Christmas trees with melted wax or pins - beautiful, but a significant fire risk. Fortunately, today's strings of electrical lights are a much safer way to add festive brightness to a Christmas tree or home. And to be assured that the lights they hang pose no significant threat of fire, consumers can rely on UL 588-2013, Standard for Safety for Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products, to support the safe design and manufacturing of these products.

Seasonal spirit drives many Americans to purchase holiday gifts for family, friends, and coworkers, and for many, the ideal option is a gift card. In fact, an estimated $124 billion will be loaded onto gift cards in the United States in 2014. Many standards have been developed to facilitate the seamless issue and use of gift cards, including INCITS/ISO/IEC 7813-2001 (R2006), Identification Cards - Financial Transaction Cards. This standard provides specifications for cards used in financial transactions, taking into consideration both human and machine aspects of the transaction. It was developed by International Organization for Standardization/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 17, Cards and Personal Information. The U.S. leads ISO/IEC JTC 1, with ANSI holding the Secretariat and Karen Higginbottom of Hewlett-Packard serving as the group's chair. The InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer (ASD), serves as the U.S. TAG Administrator to JTC 1, as well as to SC 17. This standard was also adopted as an American National Standard (ANS) by INCITS.

From baking to shopping to decorating, the holidays are undoubtedly a busy time for many. Fortunately cooks and carolers alike can rest assured that standards will be there to make the holiday safer, easier, and more enjoyable.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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