Product authentication in food & beverages industry


The growing number of food fraud scandals has alerted the consumers, industry, and regulators alike to address the problem of counterfeit food. Virgin olive oil can be fake, pesticides or fertilizers can be counterfeited, and cheap milk quark can be turned to genuine looking mozzarella, to name a few cases.

The food production chain is a complex and delicate construct of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, fodder, veterinary medicine, logistics, food additives, food processing industry (e.g., dairy, bakery, brewery), up to supermarkets, open market places, and restaurants, to name a few of the parts of the supply chain. There is a multitude of access points where counterfeit products can get in. Business losses are severe and widespread when the public gets alerted. Traceability of ingredients and products should be a priority.

Thinking of the fragile and complex food supply chain, one would assume that anti-counterfeiting technologies would be widely used. On the contrary, the business has been content to rely on trusted suppliers — sometimes even being happy to take in a cheaper alternative from a less reliable source. It is time for the food & beverages industry to adopt traceability.

As food is consumed by people, they should be exactly as interested in the authenticity of the products as they are with pharmaceuticals. Digesting poisonous ingredients is exactly as harmful if supplied within fake food or the same amount of fake medicines. Less of a health problem, faking normal food products as organic may also lead to substantial brand damage.

Anti-counterfeiting measures and traceability should be top priorities to the food & beverages industry for both consumer safety and brand protection.

On the contrary to the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry, there is no centralized serialization system available for authenticating products on different parts of the supply chain. There are industry solutions available, such as Systech UniSecure fingerprinting technology, which provide product traceability and full authentication with cloud services and mobile apps.

With Systech UniSecure, the product is serialized and the intrinsic noise of printing changing data, e.g., batch & expiry date or a serialization code, is captured with a vision inspection system while the quality of the print is checked. The cloud service enables a mobile phone app that, e.g., the consumer, farmer, or food manufacturing company can use to authenticate the product, be it an end product, pesticide, or a food ingredient, respectively. The technology does not alter the design of the product nor is reverse engineerable. As the technology allows for a mobile phone app, even the consumer can be engaged to authenticate products.

For food, beverages, and agricultural industry, we offer services of an experienced full-service packaging, handling, and authentication automation integration company. With experience from 30 years in the food, beverages, and pharmaceutical industry, and of 800 production & packaging line upgrades or new installations, Servicepoint can help you throughout the whole automation projects. Call us for professional help!


Iiro Jantunen
TkT, Teknologiajohtaja
Servicepoint Kuopio Oy
+358 44 7868 215
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