Eat This! Edible Barcode for Dietary Supplements, Food Wins Award


The dust-sized microtags can be incorporated throughout a product-such as mixed in a tablet’s excipient-or on a tablet’s coating.

A few years ago, Nutritional Outlook reported on TruTag-edible anticounterfeiting microtags that can be embedded directly in an ingestible product like a dietary supplement. Now, TruTag has received a 2014 Technology Pioneer award from the World Economic Forum. TruTag will be one of 36 award recipients in 2014.

The dust-sized microtags can be incorporated throughout a product-such as mixed in a tablet’s excipient-or on a product’s surface such as a tablet’s coating. The tags’ 100% amorphous silicon dioxide material is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by FDA and can withstand processing conditions such as heat, cold, and pressure.

Companies use a portable spectrometer-based optical reader to scan the tags. TruTag president Kent Mansfield told Nutritional Outlook that the company has since updated its reader design to be smaller and more user friendly. He declined to disclose whether any other updates have been made to the microtags themselves.

After Nutritional Outlook reported on TruTag back in 2010, FDA has since released its final guidance on direct-product tagging in 2011, titled “Incorporation of Physical-Chemical Identifiers into Solid Oral Dosage Form Drug Products for Anticounterfeiting.”

The guidance recommends that ingredients used for the microtag-referred to as a Physical-Chemical Identifier (PCID)-be inactive ingredients and treated as excipient material, if a product is a solid dosage form.

The guidance also discusses choosing PCID materials that will avoid negative interactions with the product. FDA suggests that companies use PCID materials that are GRAS-affirmed. “FDA anticipates that many of the ingredients that will ultimately be employed as PCIDs are already used as food additives, colorants, or excipients with established safety profiles,” the guidance states.

TruTag Technologies chairman Hank C.K. Wuh said in a press release that TruTag can “impact the global counterfeit problem, especially in the area of safety and authenticity of food and medicine where the impact of counterfeits on human lives is beyond measure.”

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