The use of Tamper Evident Seals and Tamper Evident Stickers began when, in the fall of 1982, a string of fatal poisonings around the Chicago area took place.
In September of that year, a mom gave her daughter a Tylenol capsule to soothe her sore throat. That decision turned fatal the next morning when the parents found their little girl had passed away.
Throughout the greater Chicago area that week, several other mysterious deaths occurred – all after consuming Tylenol capsules. In early October, investigators unraveled the mystery. Someone had tampered with bottles of Tylenol in Chicago-area stores, lacing the capsules with cyanide.
The manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, immediately issued a recall of all Tylenol bottles still sitting in stores. They partnered with the FDA to create a new form of packaging – a tamper evident seal crafted from foil, plastic, and adhesive that would make any kind of tampering easy to see.
Since then, using a tamper evident seal has become the gold standard in medication packaging.
What Industries Have Used Tamper Proof Labels Successfully?
The use of tamper evident stickers and labels, though, has spread beyond the pharmaceutical field into a variety of industries, including:
- The food and beverage sector: Like in the pharmaceutical industry, consumers consume these products directly into their bodies. Takeout labels that act as tamper evident seals make tampering with these products more difficult and easier to detect is essential for maintaining trust in brands that produce these products.
- The retail industry: Tampering with clothing and footwear might not cause severe illness and death – but it could produce some embarrassing moments for unsuspecting customers. Without security labels, a person bent on doing mischief could rip out seams, rip holes in fabric, or scratch shoes. For that reason, the retail industry has adopted the use of tamper proof seals to not only label store merchandise, but to protect it.
- Raw material suppliers: To protect their customers in the manufacturing industry from costly downtime, material suppliers must track those materials from their warehouse to their final destination. Using tamper evident stickers helps suppliers and the shipping companies they hire prevent tampering with the materials.
- Manufacturers: As with raw material suppliers, manufacturers need to track their products from the production line to delivery. Using tamper proof labels assists them in protecting their products and address any tampering attempts at the outset.
- The transportation sector: Suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers depend on their shipping companies to deliver their goods intact. Tamper proof seals can protect both their shipping paperwork and the goods themselves against people who want to do the company harm.
What Makes Tamperproof Labels So Effective?
Printers design tamper proof labels to be near-impossible to remove without leaving any evidence of tampering. If you’ve ever tried to remove the label under the cap of a ketchup or lemonade bottle neatly, you know what a challenge it is. If you’re like our team, you’ve probably had difficulty even prying it open, let alone neatly.
How Do Printers Make Tamper Resistant Stickers?
To make tamperproof labels, a printer might use small slits in the label to make it peel away in pieces. Those bottle labels that cause so much frustration when you open them are like this.
There’s a little slit in the plastic – a tab – that gives your fingers something to grab onto. But even with your most Herculean efforts, the tamperproof labels win, leaving pieces of the label intact for you to scrape or cut away.
Those tamperproof labels usually combine sturdy plastic with fragile paper and a strong adhesive, which, in turn, leaves a residue that indicates that someone has already opened the bottle. If you’ve ever gotten home from the grocery store and pulled out a bottle of ketchup to pour onto a freshly cooked burger but found only traces of the tamper proof seal left, you probably marched it back to the store with a strongly worded message for the manager – and a demand for your money back.
Rightly so. You don’t want to end up like those Tylenol victims.
Other label manufacturers combine these tough-to-remove labels with a message that the product’s integrity is no longer valid if the label is loose or missing altogether. Other printers use materials that leave a stain when someone peels it off to indicate that the product is compromised.
How Can Tamper Resistance Help Maintain Security?
Using tamper resistant stickers to seal your packages instead of regular stickers can help deter theft. Not only is a package more difficult to open, but it is also easy to detect if someone has opened it. Therefore, thieves are likely to seek a more vulnerable target.
Tamper resistant stickers are easy for your production line workers to apply yet are extremely hard to remove. Once you’ve trained your teams on how to apply them, they should have no difficulty in adapting to using them. They’re easy for your printer to create and ship every bit as fast as traditional labels and stickers.
Since many shippers track and trace packages through a blockchain system, it’s easier to detect where problems arise when they happen. If your tamper resistant stickers show signs of tampering at any step in the process, you’ll have evidence about where and how the incident might have occurred – and stop the product before it gets into a consumer’s hands.
Even if it does get through to a consumer – a rare but possible event – there are indicators of tampering that they’ll notice. They won’t be happy, but they’ll likely be safe.
The better your product security, the better your reputation. When you use security labels on your products, consumers gain more trust in your brand.
You can use tamper proof security labels on a variety of products, including:
- Food and beverages
- Pharmaceutical products, especially over-the-counter medications
- Raw materials production and packaging
- Shipping materials, such as boxes and enclosed pallets
- Other retail products, such as clothing, toys, and appliances
- Access panels on sensitive machinery
- Doors and hatches on boats, aircraft, trailers, and railcars
- Storage bags for money or other sensitive materials
- Absentee and mail-in ballots, to seal against tampering after a voter chooses his or her slate of candidates
If you want to get serious about security for your manufacturing facility, retail location, or shipping company, tamper proof security labels are a critical step to take to achieve that goal. With the help of the Nova Custom Label Printing team, you can take that step today. Contact us now to learn more!