Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The World's Easiest Product to Counterfeit

Sometimes counterfeiters go to extraordinary lengths to make fake products - such as Cisco products or re-marking microprocessors. But sometimes they just literally turn on a tap. Fake water. With the growth of bottled water (a $15bn industry in the US) worldwide, it is an obvious target for fakers. Harvest some empty containers from the trash, get new closures, and ... bingo ... you're in the water business.

Indeed a recent survey found that 50% of the barreled water in China (similar to bottled water, but specifically for coolers) is counterfeit. Suffice it to say, there are no controls on water contaminants or bottling cleanliness.

US bottled water is far safer ... but it is surprisingly easy to buy 'tamper evident' closures that can be used to cap refilled bottles.

One solution is to put a security code on a tamper evident label across the closure - thereby detecting illegal recapping. One water company in the US already puts security codes on its 5 Gallon tamper evident closures.