Security Tamper Evident Systems, INC.

Tamper Evident Packaging

     Tamper evident packaging developed in the market due to several major forces, to indicate when a container has been tampered with.  The aim of the tamper evident package is to deter theft, to pinpoint where any theft or tampering has occurred, and to assure customers of the product's integrity.

     Malicious tampering has caused companies to design tamper evident packages both to protect the customer, and to protect themselves from lawsuits.   The classic legal case was when the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. and McNeil Consumer Products Co., manufacturers of Extra Strength Tylenol™, were sued by the administrator of Diane Elsroth's estate after Diane died from taking a Tylenol product that had been tampered with.  Among the claims in the lawsuit was that the packaging used was defective because it was not sufficiently tamper evident.  The court decided that the claim for better tamper evidence was in reality a claim for a tamper proof package. 

It is axiomatic that there is no such thing as a tamper-proof container.  In truth, the best that can be achieved in this regard is the ability to ascertain readily by means of highly visible expedients where, and approximately when, tampering has occurred. 

     Various constructions are known for indicating that a container has been subjected to tampering.  Examples are heat shrinkable bands, pressure sensitive tape, and encompassing cords.  These were developed primarily to prevent non-malicious tampering in the warehouse, in transit, or in the retail establishment.  Such "grazing" or sampling of the product is an expensive form of tampering, as well as compromising the integrity of the product:  its freshness, purity, and freedom from contamination.

      With the acceptance of tamper evident packaging in the market place, commonly found now in the food and pharmaceutical industries, it has become expected by the consumer, and if not used then that product is probably losing market share.


      Pilferage refers to the form of tampering in which the customer is not getting all the parts, or the correct amount of the product, he has purchased.  It is far more costly to the manufacturer than just the cost of the item pilfered, for the following costs are added:  additional shipping costs, time, labor, and materials to refill the order, correct the billing, adjust the inventory, etc.

    Studies show that an effective theft deterrent device is one that requires the would-be thief to spend more than 20 seconds in compromising the seal, removing an item or two, and then replacing the seal to almost non-detectable levels.   Statistics indicate a great deal of theft is deterred when more than 20 seconds are required.

       Tamper evident packaging is growing in new markets, mainly in industries with high priced items in which pilferage is very costly, or in the legal/securities professions where information in the wrong hands would be costly or illegal.

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