Israel Sar-El says his company's HoloPointT system can help with food safety, but it can also help in preventing the growing trade in counterfeit food and drinks. It can also be used toauthenticate kosher food products.
Counterfeiting and tampering can undermine consumers trust in the quality and safety of a branded food product, leading to a loss in market share. Off-the-shelf scanners, printers and software areof such high quality that even novice fraudsters can use them to create labels and packaging for counterfeit branded foods.
In response companies have turned to new forms of packaging and intelligent labelling to ensure consumers and customs can check for authenticity.
Holopoint's technology automates the process of tagging meat and chicken on the assembly line, a process which is usually done by hand today. The automation can help manufacturers save money,Sar-El claimed in a release by Israel 21C, a non-profit organisation promoting the country's entrepreneurs.
Current methods of stickers on or in the packaging, or metal rings around a chicken's leg, can be easily forged, Sar-El stated.
Holopoint expects its main potential clients will be abattoirs and plants processing meat, poultry and fish, mainly in the kosher market.
"An additional slice of the market consists of abattoirs and food processing plants that provide meat, poultry and fish products that are non-kosher but are interested in unique andconspicuous marking of their products in order to gain points in the battle for the shelf," the company stated.
The company estimates the kosher market could tag about 170 million products a year. The sales potential of the non-kosher market in the EU member countries, Australia, Canada and the US isestimated at about 18,200 million markings per year.
The hologram can be used to ensure processors and consumers receive safe products and know where they came from. The holograms can also help in tracing products along the supply chain. TheHoloPoint tag also contains critical data such as traceability information via a color-coded time temperature indicator.
The tags are microwave safe and are being marketed by DuPont.
Manufacturer do not have to change the existing production line assembly. The HoloPointT system, made by Holopoint, can be installed on the processing line just before final packing. Sar-Elestimates the tags will cost less than five cents per item.
As pieces of meat or chicken pass through the line, the HoloPoinT system automatically attaches a hologram label. Sar-El said the hologram cannot be altered, counterfeited or tampered with.
"Someone who today is paying a worker to place metal tags on chickens is spending more money that this will cost," he told Israel 21C. "What we're trying to do is findsolution that aren't revolutions in the method of production, but to cause a revolution in the results."
The product can be used in an automatic production line, without manual handling. It can also be used in a semi-automatic mode, though a button operated on the production line. Workers can also tagthe food products manually.
The amount of fake food and drinks entering the EU grew by 200 per cent last year, with the higher quality of counterfeits making detection more difficult, according to the European Commission.
Lipton, Coca Cola and Nestle products topped the list of faked food and drink items seized at the EU's borders. By comparison the average growth of all faked goods, including cigarettes, cosmetics,clothes, toys, grew by 12 per cent.