Shrink bands offer important means of protection in more ways than one.
In today’s world, it’s a good idea — and in some cases, a necessity — to add a tamper-evident shrink band tunnel to your product.
Why? Because unfortunately, tampering does happen. Sometimes it’s malicious, as with the infamous 1982 Tylenol cyanide lacing (which cost Johnson & Johnson more than $100 million to recall and relaunch their product). Other times, it’s people looking for attention, as with recent viral videos of pranksters who gargle mouthwash then spit it back in the bottle or lick ice cream then put the containers back on the store shelf.
Here’s the good news: With automated assembly lines, it’s easier than ever to protect your product, your customers, and your business by adding tamper-evident seals.
Let’s look at the key benefits and reasons to offer tamper-evident packaging (including what the FDA requires) and how to implement shrink band technology into your assembly line.
1. Customers care about safety precautions.
Given a choice between two similar products, one with a protective tamper-evident seal and one without, research suggests that 86% of customers are more likely to pick the product they perceive to be a safer choice. The same study shows that 9 out of 10 global consumers believe that packaging plays an important role in ensuring product safety.
This data makes it clear to see why offering your customers peace of mind is the number one benefit of adding tamper-evident sealing to your product(s). When making purchasing decisions, people need to feel confident that their food, beverages, medications, cleaning products, and cosmetics have not been tampered with in any way.
2. Build brand loyalty.
If safety ranks this heavily with customers, it makes sense that they will show preference to brands that offer safeguard assurances. More than 85% of those surveyed said that safe packaging (such as tamper-evident seals) caused them to place greater trust in the brand and have favorable feelings about that company. Further, 83% said they would be more likely to recommend products from that brand or manufacturer to others.
3. Reduce the risk of damage.
Another benefit of tamper-evident seals is to efficiently protect the product. Adding a shrink band tunnel to your assembly line can help prevent spills, leaks, or other packaging damage that may occur during shipping and handling — so your products arrive on the shelf intact and ready for purchase. Not only is this a benefit for you in terms of preventing lost revenue due to damaged products, but it also offers extra assurance to customers that products will not inadvertently leak and cause a mess or damage other products in their shopping bags.
4. Stay compliant.
Following the aforementioned Chicago Tylenol murders that caused seven deaths, Congress passed “the Tylenol bill,” which made it a federal offense to tamper with consumer products. In order to help enforce this, the FDA established tamper-evident packaging guidelines for manufacturers. The current FDA guidance directly affects pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and some categories of personal hygiene products. It includes such recommendations as:
- The packaging must use an indicator or barrier to entry that is distinctive by design (such as an aerosol container) or must employ an identifying characteristic (a pattern, name, registered trademark, logo, or picture).
- Regulations require a labeling statement on the container (except ammonia inhalant in crushable glass ampoules, aerosol products, or containers of compressed medical oxygen) to alert the consumer to the specific tamper-resistant feature(s) used.
- The labeling statement is also required to be placed so that it will be unaffected if a tamper-resistant feature is breached or missing.
Food and beverage guidelines are also available under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Because the guidelines vary, the Food Defense Mitigation Strategies Database is a helpful resource for manufactures.
The FDA website states:
“While acts of intentional adulteration may many other forms, including acts of disgruntled employees or economically motivated adulteration, the goal of this rule is to prevent acts intended to cause wide-scale harm. Economic adulteration is addressed in the final preventive controls rules for human and animal foods…. This rule is designed to primarily cover large companies whose products reach many people, exempting smaller companies.”
As of May 26, 2016, facilities that employed fewer than 500 full-time employees were given four years to comply. This flowchart may help you determine if the rule of intentional adulteration applies to you.
Does the final rule on intentional adulteration apply to me?
Original flow chart content from the FDA. Original content posted here.
What’s the difference between tamper-evident and tamper-resistant?
Due to the language variance often used, many people wonder if there’s a difference between tamper-evident or tamper-resistant packaging.
The major distinction is that tamper-resistant packaging (TRP) is designed to deter tampering with a product, whereas a tamper-evident package (TEP) provides visible evidence that a product has been tampered with if the seal is broken. Ideally, your package would employ both safeguards. Shrink bands make the list of TRP options, but they have the additional benefit of being classified as TEP as well.
In the case of a tamper-evident shrink band tunnel, a wrapper is securely applied to a portion of the container, usually where the cap meets the container. The band is heat shrunk to provide a snug fit and must be cut to open the container — therefore, it cannot be reapplied without visible damage so customers can easily see if the package has been opened.
Add a tamper-evident shrink band tunnel to your assembly line.
Businesses often face challenges in developing cost-efficient methods to produce their goods and wonder which technologies are worth the investment. As demand grows, manufacturers look for ways to supply more goods at a faster pace.
Assembly line benefits include increased productivity as well as uniformity of products and packaging. Investing in a modular system offers the flexibility to grow with your business — so you can easily add on equipment like the tamper-evident shrink band tunnel.
Pack Leader USA offers a vast line of labeling equipment, including an affordable neck and cap banding, tamper-evident banding option. The modular design means you can directly mount the tamper-evident shrink band tunnel onto most conveyors, eliminating the need for a floor stand.
With technology advances making it easier and more affordable than ever to add this safety measure to your assembly line and meet ever-expanding government expectations, Pack Leader USA is here to help you offer customers the reassurance that your product is safe for use or consumption.