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Latest Travel Blog from Debbie Teale

Why so many layers of protection? At the mini bar of a reasonably nice resort in Thailand I am faced with the choice of refreshing beverages complete with multiple layers of protective seals. In a previous blog I have commented on the seal on the lid of water bottles that seem unnecessary in my home country, but provide comfort when travelling. So what’s with the extra layers I’m seeing today? I hit Google and was delivered a resounding reminder of the efforts some of my fellow humans will go to steal or cause others, or a business, harm. Product packaging went through a bit of a safety revolution following the infamous Tylenol poisonings in Chicago in 1982, where seven people died as a result of product tampering. Following this some jurisdictions, such as that set by the USFDA, tightened regulatory requirements for particular products such as ‘over the counter medications’. There are two terms used with different meanings and expectations around what protection is provided to the product. Tamper-evident (TE) packaging is designed to show a trace, or evidence, such as a torn label or lid, when a product has been tampered. Tamper-resistant (TR) packaging is designed to resist tampering by including hurdles or barriers that challenge a would-be perpetrator to breach and repair. The term ‘tamper-proof’ is not used since no package is considered impenetrable. TR or TE packaging provide an opportunity to combat malicious product tampering, counterfeit products, product diversion, shoplifting, theft in transit, return and warranty fraud, and unauthorised repacking of used components in brand name packaging. From my brief review it looks like food and drug manufacturers face the most regulatory requirements to protect products, but there is increasing risk in almost all industries. Products have increased brand protection value when they or their packaging includes authentication and traceability – consumers want (and deserve) to know they are getting the real deal and not a knock off or fake product. There are also increasing requirements for child-resistant packaging and performance standards for TR and TE packaging. So with this small amount of knowledge and having read a few articles on tampering cases I can see the protection benefits me as the consumer and also the brand owner. I personally don’t like the amount of plastics used, but better understand the need! Businesses seeking to ensure they meet the requirements of each jurisdiction they export to should seek legal guidance to best understand local packaging and labeling requirements. There are some great articles and blogs on tampering – here are just three links on some famous tampering cases around the world: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/5-major-product-tampering-cases-1.1295787 http://listverse.com/2010/12/27/10-notorious-cases-of-product-tampering/ http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Food-Safety/Illegal-entry

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