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Adsure Packaging Limited | Updated: Dec 04, 2015

Tamper-evident design is perhaps most visible in the process of product packaging and labelling, where it can be vital to know that the product has not been altered since it left the manufacturer.[4]

Cans of baby food were among the first high-profile cases, where manufacturers were extorted by persons claiming to have added various poisons to baby food and replaced them on supermarket shelves. The amount of stock which needed to be destroyed (because it was impossible to tell if a given item had been tampered with), and the threat of public fear, meant that tamper-evident design principles had the potential to save a lot of money in the future.

Jars of food items soon started appearing with a metal bubble-top lid, commonly known as a "safety button", which -- like the lid of a Mason jar -- popped out if the jar had ever been opened and stayed flat if the jar was in pristine condition. Customers were advised to never buy a product with a popped lid. (These lids would also pop out if the jar was contaminated by gas-producing bacteria, which was an additional safety feature.) Presumably the seal was achieved by packaging the jars in a low-pressure atmosphere, although companies were reluctant to divulge details. Soon after, the BBC demonstrated that such tamper-resistant jars could indeed be reclosed with their seals intact, and this spurred more robust designs.

Newer jars of food tend to come with a plastic wrap around the edge of the lid, which is removed when opening, although the springy-cap designs are still in common use.

Tamper-evident packaging also extends to protect stores; there are some scale labels for meats and deli products that will tear if removed.

The Tylenol Crisis of 1982 involved over-the-counter medications. Due to FDA regulations, many manufacturers of food and medicine (as well as other products) now use induction sealing and other special means to help provide evidence of tampering. Break-away components which cannot be reattached are useful. Customseals, tapes, labelsRFID tags, etc. are sometimes added.

Security packaging is needed to contain evidence of crimes. Items must be kept in an unaltered state until they are submitted in a legal proceeding.

Packaging that tears open raggedly or otherwise cannot readily be resealed is sometimes used to help indicate tampering.

Often, multiple layers or redundant indicators are used because no single layer or device is "tamper-proof". Consideration should be given to unique custom indicators (which should be changed regularly because these are subject to counterfeiting).

End-users and consumers need to be educated to watch for signs of tampering, both at the primary means of entrance and at secondary or "back door" locations on a package.


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