Tamper evident, tamper proof, and tamper resistant label technologies are valuable additions to the many functions that labels serve for a brand. Understanding the differences is key to making the right choice for your business.
Tamper evident labels provide clear proof that a product has been accessed or altered by someone other than the end user. This situation has safety implications in the case of foods, supplements, or pharmaceuticals, and security ramifications with secure, sensitive, or confidential documents. Where security packaging covers many of the requirements needed for product security, tamper evident labels lend an extra layer of protection and also help to prevent counterfeiting. These labels can incorporate holographic designs or frangible materials – i.e. “self-destructing” — to indicate possible tampering. These are commonly used for hygienic, cosmetic or medical packaging.
Tamper resistant and tamper evident are often used interchangeably to describe the same label function, but there is a key difference between them as defined by the Food and Drug Administration. An official definition may be found here. In brief, a tamper-evident seal cannot be removed without leaving clear visual evidence, whereas tamper resistant packaging may deter tampering but does not necessarily leave indicate obvious signs of tampering if such has taken place. For example, a tamper-resistant sticker may be placed over the top of a lid or cap, but if it is removed and replaced carefully there may be no indication of the removal. On the other hand, a shrink band or seal that covers a package top cannot be replaced, and thus would be considered tamper-evident.
Tamper proof labels, also known as security labels or tamper-fast labels, are generally waterproof, cannot be peeled off in cold or wet conditions, and often use a holographic design in addition to destructible technology. They are typically made of “void” polyester (which leaves the word “void” on the surface to which it was adhered) or destructible vinyl. They are used in a wide range of industries for security and branding applications, and are ideal for physical products which require record maintenance such as electronics, automotive spare parts, serial number labels, and pharmaceuticals.
What kinds of security labels do you use for your business?