Tamper-proof labels are specialised labels that, once applied, prevent unauthorised opening or tampering with a package. They are designed to leave a permanent mark if any attempts are made to remove or alter the labels.
Tamper-proof labels are invaluable assets for ensuring product safety and security within the supply chain. They act as a deterrent for theft, counterfeiting, and even tampering with product contents. Tamper-proof labels come in various materials, designs, shapes, sizes, and colours, making them suitable for almost any application, from retail packaging to medical supplies.
But before implementing tamper-proof labels into the supply chain, it is important to understand what precisely tamper-proof labels are. In this article, we will cover everything you need to learn about tamper-proof labels, including their types and working. In the end, we will also provide some tips on choosing tamper-proof labels and also how you can design them using Bartender Software.
So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover what tamper-proof labels are all about.
Types of Tamper-Proof Labels
There are two main types of tamper-proof labels – Tamper-Evident Labels and Destructible Security Labels.
Tamper-evident labels indicate whether a product has been opened, tampered with, or altered in any way. They are also known as tamper-evident stickers or tamper-evident seals.
Tamper-evident labels have features that make it impossible to remove them without leaving obvious signs of tampering. These features include patterned void messages, hidden images, and frangible slits or cuts.
Additionally, tamper-evident labels often split or separate from the packaging if an attempt to remove them is made. Once removed, these labels lose their structural integrity and cannot be reattached to the goods, making it clear if tampering has occurred.
According to FDA, “A tamper-evident package is one having one or more indicators or barriers to entry which, if breached or missing, can reasonably be expected to provide visible evidence to consumers that tampering has occurred.”
The FDA continues by stating that “the tamper-evident package should be distinctive by design.” This means the package should use different materials that are not readily available to the public or use more than one indicator or barrier with different identifying characteristics such as pattern name, registered trademark, logo, or picture. By doing this, it becomes difficult for people to replicate the tamper-evident package.
The FDA also states that the tamper-evident feature should be designed and placed in such a way that it remains intact when handled in a reasonable manner during manufacture, distribution, and retail display.
Tamper-evident labels are used in various industries and contexts, from food products and medicine to industrial machinery and electronics. They come in different sizes and colours and are allowed to be customised to fit with the label design.
Check out our article on best practices for designing labels and barcodes for tips and tricks to design top-class product labels.
Destructible Security Labels
Destructible security labels are materials that are placed on areas such as lids or box openings as a security measure to prevent people from accessing the product until the label is removed. They are also known as destructible vinyl or frangible labels,
In other words, these labels make it virtually impossible to open packages without leaving evidence behind, making them an attractive choice to deter theft, tempering, counterfeiting, and other unauthorised access.
Destructible security labels are made up of fragile and brittle materials that easily tear and break apart when tampered with. Once these labels are broken, it is impossible to reattach them without leaving apparent visual evidence of tampering.
Moreover, a destructible security label has additional security features, such as holograms and serial numbers printing on them, making it impossible to replace or duplicate the label.
Destructible security seals are widely used in pharmaceutical and food & beverage manufacturing industries. They are also used by banks, government institutions, law enforcement agencies, and other organisations to ensure the security of sensitive documents.
Can a Label be Both Tamper-Evident and Destructible?
Yes, a label can have both tamper-evident and destructible label features.
Such labels are made using thin, brittle materials and have extra security features that leave behind visual evidence, such as void messages or images when tampered with.
How Does a Tamper Evident Label Work?
A tamper-evident label has two components – Frangible Face Material and Permanent Adhesive.
The frangible face material is the topmost layer of a tamper-evident label. It is made of very thin, delicate material that lacks internal strength and structural integrity. As a result, the layer breaks into small pieces if someone attempts to remove or reposition it.
The permanent adhesive layer is the bottom layer of a tamper-evident label. It affixes the label in one place so that it does not move or come off until a reasonable amount of force is applied. The adhesive layer also contains elements such as void text, coloured patterns, images, or holograms that are revealed once the face material is broken.
So, in a nutshell, when a tamper-evident label is tampered with, the frangible face material breaks apart and reveals the permanent adhesive with elements like a void message, leaving a piece of obvious visual evidence behind.
Common Types of Tamper-Evident Stickers
There are various kinds of tamper-evident stickers based on how they are designed to change appearance when damaged. The most common types are as follows.
Total transfer labels, also called labels with hidden print layers, are stickers that leave an adhesive layer with graphical elements or textual statements on the surface.
Once the face material is removed or compromised, the underlying message or graphics are revealed and serve as a deterrent against tampering. Such labels typically display text statements like “VOID”, “TAMPER EVIDENT”, “OPENED”, or an associated logo, pattern, or image in contrasting colours to draw user attention.
Perforations and Security Cuts Labels
As the name suggests, perforations and security cut labels are stickers with pre-made perforations or cuts on the surface.
When the face material is removed, it leaves behind a noticeable pattern of lines, dots, circles, or cuts, making it easy to identify tampering attempts.
Triton’s range of Thermal Carton Labels also have security cut features.
Detailed labels are created using sophisticated methods such as variable printing or laser engraving. These stickers have detailed elements like barcodes, serial numbers, text statements, alphanumeric codes, graphics, or images.
When the face material is removed, it misaligns or degrades the detailed elements, which draws the user’s attention to the tear, indicating that the container was opened.
Destructible Tamper Evident Labels
Destructible tamper-evident labels, also called eggshell labels, are stickers with strong face material and adhesives. When these labels are removed, they rip into tiny pieces or crumble away such that they cannot be re-used.
How Does a Destructible Label Work?
Destructible labels possess a straightforward design and operation. These labels have a strong adhesive with a thin strip. This thin strip is attached to the opening of the container and extends to the body of the container, leaving some space in between.
Destructible labels are attached in such a way that they must be torn off to gain access to the container’s contents. These labels can be made using different materials so that they must be cut with scissors (or other sharp objects) or torn apart as the lid is turned.
Since the label must be ripped apart to open the container, it is impossible to reattach it and hide the evidence of tampering.
Common Types of Destructible Labels
The most common types of destructible labels are as follows.
Transparent Labels or Clear Labels
Transparent labels are created using transparent plastic material, allowing customers to see the packaging condition of the product clearly.
Shaped labels are designed according to the opening or shape of the package they are used with. Some common shapes are circles, squares, rectangles, ovals, and T-shaped.
Perforated labels feature a clear dotted tear line in the middle. These labels are designed to be easily torn along the dotted lines, giving access to the container’s content. The label, once removed, cannot be reattached and thus serves as a deterrent against tampering.
Common Uses of Tamper Proof Labels
Tamper-proof labels are used in the following areas.
Tamper-proof labels are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that any drug containers, medical devices, and other products remain safe from tampering or adulteration. These labels are also mandatory by FDA to be used for over-the-counter drugs as covered in Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) 450.500.
Industrial Packaging and Shipping Industry
Tamper-proof labels help manufacturers and shippers identify if their products have been opened or tampered with during transit.
Online Delivery Services
The need for online delivery of food, fruits & vegetables, groceries, and medicines has skyrocketed after the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, online services are increasingly using tamper-proof labels to assure customers that their products were not tampered with during delivery.
Different Organisations and Agencies
Tamper-evident labels are used by financial organisations, government organisations, and other agencies to secure confidential documents such as tax returns, financial statements, and legal documents when they are stored or transferred.
How to Choose a Tamper-Evident Label?
Choosing the correct tamper-evident label will depend on your product and business needs. However, there are some questions you should ask before choosing one. These include.
- What type of product is being labelled?
- What size is the product?
- What type of surface is the product made from, and will it accommodate adhesives?
- What level of customisation is required?
- What type of environment will the product be used in?
- Are there any special requirements or regulations to be met with the label?
Tamper-proof labels are valuable tools that protect the product’s integrity and safety. These labels provide businesses with peace of mind knowing that their products are secure and customers can trust that the product they receive is untouched and up to their standards.
Tamper-proof labels are best printed using thermal printers. Triton offers a complete range of thermal printers at affordable pricing. Our thermal printers are from top-tier manufacturers such as Honeywell, Zebra, and TSC. You can also design these labels using Bartender Software which Triton also supplies.
Contact us today via the live chat widget below to learn more about our thermal printers and get the best solution for your business needs. You can also refer to our thermal printer buying guide.
We hope this article has been informative and provided you with an understanding of tamper-proof labels.