MIDDLE EAST: In an effort to combat counterfeits in the Middle East, Honeywell has added a verifiable barcode on its Genetron R134a refrigerant containers.

The new measure is part of ongoing efforts by Honeywell to fight the proliferation of counterfeit refrigerants in the Middle East and elsewhere. Such counterfeits, the company says, often falsely labelled as Genetron, can damage air conditioning and contain dangerous chemicals.

“The new barcodes are a user-friendly tool to allow customers to verify authenticity instantly, adding to the other authentication technologies we have developed in the past,” said Julien Soulet, managing director for Honeywell Fluorine Products in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. “Honeywell will also continue to work closely with local law enforcement and other authorities to actively pursue and help prosecute counterfeiters of our Genetron refrigerants.”

The new barcode label allows customers to use their mobile phones to immediately verify that they have received genuine Honeywell refrigerant.

Honeywell is also continuing efforts to build awareness among its customers on the risks of using counterfeit products. This includes holding training seminars for contractors and distributors and providing them with information about the dangers of non-genuine products to share with end users.

Last year, Honeywell conducted a survey which revealed that residents of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are concerned about potentially dangerous counterfeit refrigerants, which are increasingly found in the Middle East. The majority of respondents indicated they would prefer a brand-name refrigerant for their home, office, car or refrigerator if it would limit the risks posed by counterfeit refrigerants.

In 2011, Honeywell announced that the combined efforts of police, customs, local municipalities and other government officials in the UAE resulted in the seizure of approximately 6,000 containers of counterfeit refrigerant being fraudulently sold under the Honeywell Genetron brand name. The counterfeit product actually contained dangerous toxic and flammable substances. According to local authorities, the counterfeit refrigerant was marked as Honeywell’s Genetron 134a.

Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies has actively pursued counterfeits for more than 10 years with successful seizures in more than 20 countries covering six continents. During the last two years alone, Honeywell, working with local governments, have seized more than 200,000 counterfeit products.