Casual tamperers tempted no more

An unlikely "marketer"--the State of Maryland--has taken steps to discourage casual tampering of crab meat packed in containers with snap-on lids. Seems that even the best-behaved supermarket shopper will occasionally sneek a peek, whiff or even a bite of that luscious but expensive fresh crab meat.

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So the state, which markets the crab meat packed by some 23 area crab meat processors, switched this July to an officially designated package that's got a snap-on lid designed to discourage such casual sampling. The skirt of the snap-on low-density polyethylene lid is injection-molded with a series of undercuts that act like barbs, interlocking with the downward-curling lip of the 16-oz cup. Compared to other TE tear-strip lids, this TE lid is more difficult to remove due to the undercuts, according to the supplier, Venture Packaging (Monroeville, OH). Venture president John Rathbun concedes that by pulling hard on the lid, one could remove it with the skirt intact, though not without an obvious spillage of product. "You can pull it off," sums up Rathbun, "but you'd better not do it wearing a suit." One crabmeat processor using the new package says it's a big improvement over the shrink bands it had been applying manually, a labor-intensive extra step. "This saves us a whole lot of time and trouble while providing a good tamper-resistant closure," says Jack Brooks, president of crab meat packer J.M. Clayton Co. He says it's ideal for low-volume processors like Clayton that can't justify the expense of automated shrink band applicating equipment.

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