Tamper evident packaging is a stalwart of safety and awareness in packaging. Not only does it feature strong materials that keep the products inside safe, it alerts consumers to contamination or foul play.
What exactly is tamper evident packaging? Here is the definition from the Food and Drug Administration:
“A tamper-evident package, according to the regulations of the FDA (21 CFR § 211.132), "is one having one or more indicators or barriers to entry which, if breached or missing, can reasonably be expected to provide visible evidence to consumers that tampering has occurred." In addition, the indicator or barrier must be "distinctive by design," which means the tamper-evident feature is designed from material not readily available to the public. Therefore, it can't be easily duplicated. The labeling must also include a description of the safety feature. For blister packaging, each tablet or capsule is individually sealed, so any form of tampering is immediately visible. The product label needs to include a statement similar to the following: "Do not use if blister is cut or broken.”
Tamper evident packaging is generally very strong and prevents not only tampering but damage to the products contained within as well.
From induction seal liners on over the counter pain killers to blister packs used for pharmaceuticals, these special packaging options ensure that the product is safe. If damaged or tampered with, the customer will know not to consume the product.
While there are various products being developed, some of the most popular include:
- A shrink band is a good example of tamper evident packaging for products that have a lid or cap. They are commonly used for securing ice-cream lids.
- Jarred foods are another example of a product that can benefit from tamper evident shrink bands, they also commonly feature a button-top security lid that makes a loud 'popping' noise when opened for the first time. If you do not hear the pop, the product has been compromised and it should not be used.
- Tamper-evident tapes can be used to secure boxes, envelopes, pallets, crates and bags. They usually have wording on them that will indicate if the item has been tampered with.
- Other labeling that provides security and TEP functions include those which feature RFID tech embedded underneath the label. This allows you to trace your products through the supply chain and is a very important dynamic in many industries already. Easily tracking your products with newer technologies like RFID in labeling and ink-coding helps protect your business and also protects the consumer from compromised products. By using an automated labeling system your packaging line will maximize productivity and protect your product through their entire life span.
As with all packaging products there are pros and cons to tamper evident packaging. PKG Branding out of Chicago, Illinois, has this to say about the main problem with these particular packaging supplies:
"The potential drawback, which all brands that use tamper-evident packaging must keep in mind, is when protective features make packaging feel impenetrable. The companies that use protective packaging to their best advantage are the ones that learn how to tread the fine line between safety and customer-friendliness. Believe it or not, “wrap rage” is a real phenomenon, and can, in fact, cause consumers to avoid certain products or brands if they believe the packaging will be too difficult to open.
Tamper-evident packaging is not only here to stay, it is being applied to more categories of products than ever before. When people receive packages from an e-commerce provider they will never physically visit, they want to be confident that the products they receive are fresh and have not been altered in any way."
Another issue with tamper evident packaging, like blister packs used for over the counter pharmaceuticals, includes complicated recycling. These packages tend to feature at least two types of material often being inseparable from each other, preventing them from being properly recycled thus, ending up in landfills or the ocean.
However, many suppliers are becoming aware of these environmental concerns and producing tamper evident packaging supplies that are 100% recyclable in light of consumers demand for products that have less of an impact upon planet earth and it's environment.
For example, PLACON company out of Madison, Wisconsin, has developed easy to break down 100% recyclable tamper evident food containers.
The absence of removable byproducts or pieces on these items allows for the minimization of choking hazards and makes these food containers tamper-evident while also being environmentally friendly as they eliminate the need for shrink bands or additional labeling. These products' offset and recessed cavity instructional tabs allow for truly easy gripping and opening in addition to the dynamic of leak resistance which ensures that there are no messy spills during transportation and storage of said products.
The packaging ensures high resistance to tampering while simultaneously alerting customers if their product has been compromised. These environmentally friendly containers allow consumers to rest easy knowing that their food has not been contaminated after it is initially packaged.
These products are strong and stackable. They can get separated by hand or automated processes. Made for retailers and food processors alike, these recyclable containers display food well.
However, the potential drawback for these fully recyclable options is a greater financial cost than some of their non-recyclable counterparts.
All in all, the pros of tamper evident packaging far outweigh the cons. Tamper evident packaging not only protects consumers, it has the potential to save lives.
As technological advances continue to deepen, tamper evident solutions may eventually evolve into the realm of reusable packaging or zero waste. Until then, tamper evident packaging remains the best option for protecting drugs, food and other products that must be protected from contamination.