Fighting food fraud with packaging and labelling solutions
Issued by Tracepack - Apr 17th, 11:13
In the food industry, not everything is as it seems. What seems to be safe foods could be counterfeit. We are generally trusting eaters; we believe what the menu says, and we believe what is given to us is authentic. But labels can lie, and packaging can be misleading. Food fraud not only robs you of the value that you have paid for, it could also be hazardous to your health.
From the common everyday ingredients and condiments like milk and black pepper, to exotic and exquisite food like scallops and saffron, many foods are counterfeited. The global food industry has never faced more challenges. From tainted dairy products to contaminated beef, high-profile cases crop up regularly to dent consumer confidence, while leading companies work hard to reclaim lost faith. So, how trustworthy is your food?
Gone are the days when counterfeiting was relegated to a local area or a small handful of industries. Today’s counterfeiters are technologically savvy, employing the latest advances and taking full advantage of the vulnerabilities created by globalization, allowing them to proliferate at a rate never seen before.
At least 10% of food in supermarkets worldwide are thought to be adulterated. Fraudsters adulterate food to sell more for less. By eating adulterated food, not only are you getting less for your money, but your health may also be at risk. Not only is fake food made with lower quality ingredients, but materials found in fake food have also included chemicals used for anti-freeze and melamine, among others.
Fighting Food Fraud
Food Fraud has become a serious issue. It’s organised, criminal and widespread, but there are solutions that MITAS Corporation can assist manufacturers and brand owners with, through our various divisions.
• Edible Inks - HACCP/FDA certified visible and invisible inks which can be printed directly onto foods such as fruit and vegetables, cakes and confectioneries. With the ability to print text or barcodes at very low cost, thus maximizing the ability of having a cost-effective anti-counterfeit solution.
• PolyTrust - A complete anti-counterfeiting solution comprising of thermal inkjet printers, uv visible and invisible inks and a customs smartphone App combined with a real-time IT website.
• Security Printing - Packaging and labelling can be engineered to help reduce the risks of counterfeit consumer goods or the theft and resale of products. Some package constructions are more difficult to copy and some have tamper-evident seals. Counterfeit goods, unauthorised sales (diversion), material substitution and tampering can all be reduced with these anti-counterfeiting technologies. Packages may include authentication seals and use security printing to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit; these too are subject to counterfeiting.
• Security Inks – UV Fluorescent, IR inks, Invisible inks can be used to aid in traceability, security, counterfeit avoidance and brand protection applications to print on a variety of substrates such as metal, glass, plastic and more. Invisible codes survive high temperatures and remain visible when exposed to high-temperature sand steam processes.
Production Packaging Supplies
• Inspection Equipment - Inspection is a vital process in the packaging industry. Through the use of a checkweighers, metal detectors, and x-ray machines manufacturers can detect contaminants, packaging defects and fill levels.
• Pelta - Based on the standard 2D code but extends the capability of the 2D code by adding a second layer of information. The second layer is hidden and invisible to the standard 2D code reader. The second layer of data is encrypted in a proprietary format. The covert layer can only be decrypted by the Pagemark’s mobile or PC software using a custom key, thus can be used as a basis of an authentication or track and trace solution.
• Tax Stamps - Tax stamps are becoming more widely used by governments. Holograms, specialised codes can be included into the labels
• DNA Inks - DNA ink, as another option to the invisible inks used in anti-counterfeiting, is an ink doped with trace elements. When the ink is printed onto material, it appears to be black in colour or invisible, but when scanned the trace elements become visible.
• Security Taggants – Microscopic optical markers allow instant authentication and are non-destructive. Offering covert high security which is robust and difficult for counterfeiters to detect.
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The counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products is an enormous risk for consumers’ health and a major economic loss for the pharmaceutical industry. The safety of pharmaceutical products is a necessity for the final consumer and it requires an utmost control of the flow of products, from the manufacturing to the distribution.
Print Invisible, UV Light Readable. Product Security and Counterfeit Avoidance.
Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a major problem for the proprietary pharmaceutical industry causing loss of revenues, damage reputations, and pose significant health risks to consumers, with the WHO estimating one million people die every year from counterfeit drugs. They also pose indirect costs to society as counterfeiting often supports organised crime.
At the recent Tax Stamp Forum™, we were happy to welcome Kyle Parker, Group CEO of MITAS Corporation, who spoke about the group’s 28-year journey from its original activity of producing human-readable product markers, to being ‘pulled in the direction’ of brand protection, authentication and track and trace.