Tamper-evident labels ensure the safety and freshness of a wide range of products. Tamper-evident packaging should not be confused with tamper-resistant packaging.
The latter makes it difficult to get into the container, but it’s not necessarily clear whether or not the container has been opened—for example, a childproof lid may be removed and put back on without any evidence that it had been opened. Conversely, tamper-evident packaging doesn’t necessarily make it harder to open a package, but it does make it clear when a package has been opened. These two types of packaging are often used together. For example, a jar with a childproof lid may also come with a safety seal to verify freshness before the first use.
If a tamper-evident label is broken, damaged, or missing, it helps consumers realize a product has been tampered with and should not be used or consumed. This is especially important for pharmaceuticals and food and beverage products.
Safety is the primary reason for using tamper-evident labels. Foods, drugs, sterile equipment, and other such products shouldn’t be consumed if they’ve been compromised in some way. A tamper-evident label makes it clear if packaging has been opened or altered.
This is an easy way for manufacturers to ensure the safety of their customers. Even when not required, some companies choose to use tamper-evident packaging to provide buyers with peace of mind. As an added benefit, it may make a difference to consumers when choosing between your product and a competitor’s. Ultimately, tamper-evident labels help build brand integrity and protect against counterfeit products.
There are a variety of types of tamper-evident labels. The one that’s right for your product typically depends upon what type of packaging you’re using, as well as other considerations such as budgets, goals, and preferences.
- Tamper-evident checkerboard. When a checkered label is removed, it leaves the checkerboard pattern behind to signify that the product has already been used or opened. The label itself can’t be resealed, so it’s impossible to reattach it if it’s been removed.
- Tamper-evident void. Removing this tape reveals a “void” pattern. It can’t be reattached. This is especially useful for alerting handlers that shipped boxes have been opened.
- Destructible label. These vinyl labels are easy to apply, but are also easily torn and won’t come off in a single piece. This makes it very difficult to remove the label completely, and the time-consuming nature of this act is a deterrent in itself. This also prevents would-be counterfeiters from putting the label on a different package.
- Anti-forgery label. By printing these labels with special materials, the labels become very difficult to counterfeit. It can also create a more polished, sophisticated look for the image you’re using on your label.
- Holographic foil. Holographic foil is difficult to copy or counterfeit due to its prismatic effect. The foil may be combined with tamper-evident patterns such as void or checkerboard that are left behind if the label is removed.
- Holographic residue. In this case, a removed label leaves behind a pattern of reflective dots that are intensely difficult to remove without obviously damaging the packaging.
Pharmaceuticals, food and beverage items, and cleaning products regularly use tamper-evident labels and packaging to help protect consumers. These labels, seals, and stickers not only serve as a warning to customers if they’re broken, but also provide an extra barrier of protection against accidental leakage during transit. Here are some ideal situations for using tamper-evident labels:
- Food and beverages. For food and beverage products, tamper-evident labels help ensure the freshness of the food. If a container has been opened—even if the food item was not opened or damaged on purpose—the exposure to air or moisture could lead to mold or spoiling. Some of the product could have spilled, leaked, or been consumed by other customers. The label provides visual evidence that the product may have been used or compromised in some way and shoppers can simply choose a different item. In the best cases, store employees note the broken seal and report the issue before a customer finds it on the shelf.
- Restaurant delivery. Now that third-party services enable food delivery and food orders to-go from nearly any dining establishment, product security becomes even more important to ensure a delivery driver doesn’t help himself or herself to your purchase. A few missing fries may go unnoticed by the receiver, but a broken tamper-evident label will not. Tamper-evident labels offer an ideal way to make sure that uncontrolled third-party food delivery services don’t damage a restaurant’s reputation.
- Pharmaceuticals. In rare cases, a broken tamper-evident label could be the result of malicious intent, which is why tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packaging was originally developed. In 1982, several people died as a result of taking Tylenol that had been laced with poison. Though the criminals were never caught, it was determined the tampering happened after the medicine had left the factory, leading investigators to believe bottles were purchased or stolen, laced with poison, then returned to the shelves. Guidelines were enacted that required the usage of tamper-evident and tamper-resistant labeling on pharmaceuticals.
Today’s tamper-evident labels help prevent incidents ranging from simple accidents to catastrophic tragedy. While most broken labels are likely the result of an accident, a broken tamper-evident label lets a consumer know that they should not risk using the product. Given this benefits to the consumer, more companies are starting to use tamper-evident labeling even when not required. It’s all part of protecting customers and creating a higher-quality buyer experience.
NADCO Tapes & Labels, Inc. specializes in customized orders for tamper-evident labels, as well as a variety of other labels and tapes. Our 35,000-square-foot warehouse allows us to keep a large inventory of the adhesive products you need most.
Contact us for more information about our tamper-evident label solutions or any of our other products.