Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has been growing into a serious problem over the years, and RFID (radio frequency identification) based techniques have been implemented into pill bottle caps to guarantee authenticity. The problem, of course, is that this approach doesn’t identify the genuine nature of the pills themselves. Now Cellular Bioengineering, a company out of Honolulu, Hawaii, has developed a method to manufacture tiny silicon dioxide (SiO2) particles, called TruTags™, each of which can have a unique light signature when observed with a special device. Being cheaper to manufacture and safe for consumption, the company believes that TruTags may become regular practice to tag not only drugs, but also foods, and maybe even things like toothpaste and diaper creams.
From the product page:
TruTags™ are manufactured starting with high-purity silicon and completely oxidized by a high-temperature bake to form silica, also known as silicon dioxide (SiO2). Silica is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, and has been in wide use for many years in a range of food products and pharmaceuticals. For example, it is added in small amounts to aid with the thickening of coatings or the free-flow of powders and granulations.
The TruTag™ difference is that a unique optical signature is manufactured into the tags without the use of additional additives or markers. This allows the tags to be added to coatings and applied to the exterior of edible goods, or added to ingredients such as powders and used as a forensic marker, to be read and verified as part of an investigation or inspection process by authorized security or quality assurance personnel.
Video of the TruTag particles swimming in water:
Info page: TruTags™…
Press release: BREAKTHROUGH TECHNOLOGY ENABLES EDIBLE TRUTAG™ TO PREVENT COUNTERFEIT MEDICINE