Technical Center

International Symbol Glossary


An International Symbol Glossary is now available for your use. This glossary will provide you with the symbols and definitions that are used on labels for all BD Diagnostic Systems products. The glossary can be printed from this website for your use, and is available as a PDF under the Related Documents section on the right.

Additionally, for a period of time, specific BD products will contain a copy of the glossary in the package. Please use this glossary whenever you have a question regarding symbols on the labels.


Republished from the BD Catapult newsletter, October 2000 Volume 1 - Issue 1:

With the global demand for BD products increasing, the ability to communicate important information related to these products becomes an increasing challenge. Multilingual language labels and instructions have become a necessity and at times a requirement for marketing products worldwide. The dilemma posed to the medical device industry is to provide the appropriate and required information in a multilingual format, while making the information readable on a variety of sizes of labels. To assist the industry with this issue and provide the user with a uniform method to obtain product information, use of internationally recognized symbols has become a growing trend. With the introduction of the Medical Device Directive (MDD) and the In Vitro Diagnostic Directive (IVDD) in Europe, the use of symbols to substitute for text has been actively promoted.

At BD, we are in the process of transforming our labeling to incorporate the use of these internationally recognized symbols on our labels. In addition, we have adopted a new labeling and bar-coding system that conforms to the new UCC/EAN 128 (Uniform Code Council/International Article Numbering Association) requirements. The process of codification for product catalog numbering has given us an opportunity to modify the labels in order to use these symbols. The use of the symbols has allowed us to provide important product information in a multilingual format without increasing the size of the label or reducing the size of its print. As these symbols become more widely used, you will become more familiar with them.

In addition to these changes, we have implemented a new format for representing the expiration date of a product. You may begin to see product expiration with a four digit year first, followed by the month and, if needed, the day. This format (YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY-MM) is a requirement of the MDD and IVDD but will also reduce the confusion between the new millennium year numbering (00, 01, 02) and the month/day number. All our customers worldwide will benefit by our having a standard international dating format.

BD Catapult is published by Becton, Dickinson and Company.
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