Marketing and Productivity Advantages of Today's Tamper Evident Bands

In Chicago in 1982, seven people lost their lives after ingesting Tylenol that had been laced with potassium cyanide. Nearly 27 years later in February 2009, a Florida woman was arrested after grocery store shoppers witnessed her injecting fluids into jars of baby food. In between these incidents, numerous instances of human and pet food recalls and stories in the media about the potential for terror attacks on food supplies have made the public ever more vigilant about food and drug safety and tampering.

The packaging industry has responded to both the public’s concern and to government regulation by developing ways to indicate whether a package has been tampered with. Most consumers are familiar with the film band over the cap and neck of a bottle, jar, or tub. If unbroken, the band signals that the package has not been tampered with.

Metal baby food caps that pop up after opening provide another example of a tamper evident packaging strategy. If the small tabs around metal and plastic caps* on milk and soft drink bottles are unbroken, then the package has not been opened since the top was put on at the factory. On many packages, consumers are warned not to use the contents of a package if the foil, plastic, or paper seal underneath the cap is not entirely glued to the rim of the package. Each of these - film band, pop-up cap, breakaway cap, and under-cap seal - provide visual and tactile indications of the integrity of the package.

Film bands and plastic and metal breakaway caps - the caps with the small tabs - are the most commonly used methods of assuring consumers that food, beverages, health, and personal care products on retail shelves have not been tampered with or damaged. Under-cap seals provide assurance once the consumer brings the product home. Between the two on-the-shelf tamper evidence methods — film or breakaway caps — film bands are by far the most versatile because of the ability of films to be used on large, small, or odd-shaped packaging...

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