Australian Company Develops Invisible Technology to Combat Food Fraud

As major markets like China increase their demand for imported luxury foods such as olive oil, an Australian company, YPB Group, has developed an invisible tracking technology they believe will become an industry standard.

Jul. 10, 2017
By Mary Hernandez

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An Australian com­pany called YPB Group has devel­oped an all-new anti-fraud tech­nol­ogy to assist local and inter­na­tional food prod­uct exporters in com­bat­ing sophis­ti­cated food coun­ter­feit­ers.

The invis­i­ble tracer tech­nol­ogy con­tains invis­i­ble par­ti­cles that can be mixed in paint, plas­tic and ink applied to caps, corks or labels – and even directly to food.

First devel­oped in 2015 with a vision of becom­ing a scal­able solu­tion pre­vent­ing coun­ter­feit­ers from copy­ing prod­ucts, the patented prod­uct can be embed­ded into almost any sub­strate used to pack­age or seal a prod­uct, and is based on inor­ganic, non-radioac­tive trace min­er­als that have been cer­ti­fied by the European, American and Chinese food and drug admin­is­tra­tions as safe for direct con­tact with food. It is already in use by busi­nesses in the Asia Pacific region to safe­guard every­thing from tax cer­tifi­cates to con­sumer goods and even phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

According to Jens Michel, CEO of YPB Group, the tech­nol­ogy can eas­ily be adopted by local and inter­na­tional olive oil farm­ers and pro­duc­ers, as any prod­uct that requires pro­tec­tion or cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of authen­tic­ity would ben­e­fit from our tech­nol­ogy pro­tect­ing the brand’s integrity and decreas­ing the risk from coun­ter­feit.”

Using a spe­cific for­mu­la­tion, the tech­nol­ogy works by enabling illu­mi­na­tion in the invis­i­ble light spec­trum, ren­der­ing it invis­i­ble to the human eye. Specially equipped scan­ners can detect the product’s unique sig­na­ture and pro­vides an authen­ti­ca­tion response based on the tracer mate­r­ial.

Brands that opt to use the tech­nol­ogy in their prod­ucts or pack­ag­ing are pro­vided with spe­cial scan­ners so they can ver­ify prod­uct authen­tic­ity. YPB can either assist the brand from end to end with their prod­uct pack­ag­ing or inte­grate the solu­tion into the business’s exist­ing processes. They can also pro­vide unique and trace­able sig­na­tures spe­cific to cer­tain com­pa­nies and time peri­ods for added authen­ti­ca­tion.


Unlike other anti-fraud mea­sures, the tech­nol­ogy has been rec­og­nized by the China Trade Association for Anti-Counterfeiting (CTAAC) as the only invis­i­ble tracer com­pany in China – giv­ing it a major advan­tage over its com­peti­tors due to the increas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Australian food imports.

Food safety and fraud are major con­cerns for both Chinese con­sumers and for Australia’s AUD45 bil­lion ($34 bil­lion) agri­cul­tural food export mar­ket. Research by PWC reveals that olive oil (in addi­tion to alco­hol and seafood) is one of Australia’s most coun­ter­feited prod­ucts and that the aver­age prod­uct pro­vides fraud­sters with over a 100 tam­per­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties dur­ing its jour­ney through the sup­ply chain.

A Pew Internet Research Survey revealed that over 70 per­cent of Chinese con­sumers have major con­cerns over the safety and authen­tic­ity of their food, with over 80 per­cent will­ing to pay extra for ver­i­fied prod­ucts.

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