Which is better? Tamper-resistant packaging vs. tamper-evident labels

Photograph: DayMark Safety Systems

The food and beverage industries are working harder than ever to make sure their products are delivered safe and protected to the end user. And one of the fundamental ways they are doing this is by using tamper-resistant and tamper-evident packaging.

These two terms are not the same and do tend to confuse, so let's clear things up a bit: 

  • A tamper-resistantpackage is designed to resist opening and access to the product within the container. One way that organizations in the food and beverage industry—as well as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other industries—are making their product packages resistant to tampering is by using shrink film. When heat is applied to shrink film, which is a form of clear plastic, it shrinks tightly over the package, making the package difficult to open.
  • On the other hand, to be tamper-evident—such as TamperSeal labels from DayMark Safety Systems—packaging material must have a visible label or seal. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a tamper-evident seal 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 other words, if the label or seal is broken, it serves as a warning that the package has likely been opened. This would be cause for alarm for packages delivered from any industry, but especially the food and beverage industry.

Which is better?

There is a debate as to which method is more effective: using tamper-resistant packaging or applying tamper-evident labels or seals to a package.

The answer is that both serve a unique and crucial purpose in protecting the consumer. In some cases, both systems should be used on packages.  

However, there are some issues with tamper-resistant packaging. For instance:

  • Different machines and several people may handle packaged materials during the delivery process. The chances that the tamper-resistant packaging will fail, become damaged, or opened during shipment are often high. If the packaged is opened, the end user does not know precisely why or how this occurred.
  • Very often, a tamper-resistant package needs to be specially designed to prevent tampering or needs specific materials, such as the aforementioned shrink film, to protect it. These can add to packaging costs. 
  • In some cases, if a tamper-resistant package has been opened, there may be no indication of this to the end user.

These possibilities are less likely with a tamper-evident label or seal. Plus, tamper-evident labels and seals are very cost effective. 

Additionally, using tamper-evident labels and seals can help deter tampering. This is important because it involves business income and losses.

If a package looks like it may have been tampered with or inappropriately opened, the product inside may need to be returned to the manufacturer, and the contents of the package destroyed. This is lost revenue.  

With a tamper-evident label or seal, manufacturers and end-users will know if a package may have been opened. There is far less chance the product inside will need to be returned to the manufacturer unnecessarily.

This post is sponsored by DayMark Safety Systems


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