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Food-Info.net> Questions and Answers > Food Packaging

Can you determine the origin (country) of a product from the barcode ?

Bar codes are something most of us never think about. If you look in your fridge or pantry right now, you will find that just about every package you see has a bar code printed on it. In fact, nearly every item that you buy in a grocery shop, supermarket or superstore has a bar code on it somewhere.

Bar codes were first used commercially in 1966, but it was soon realised that there would have to be a common standard. By 1970, the Universal Grocery Products Identification Code (UGPIC) was written by a company called Logicon Inc. The standard was further improved and led to the Universal Product Code (UPC) symbol set. To this very day, this standard is used in the United States and Canada . In June of 1974, the first UPC scanner was installed at a Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio, and the first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's Gum.

The Universal Product Code was the first bar code symbology widely adopted. Its birth is usually set at 3 April 1973, when the grocery industry formally established UPC as the standard bar code symbology for product marking. Foreign interest in UPC led to the adoption of the EAN (European Article Numbering) code format, similar to UPC, in December 1976.

Currently, the United States and Canada use UPC bar codes as their standard for retail labelling, whereas the rest of the world uses EAN. Since January 1, 2005 all retail scanning systems in the USA must be able to accept the EAN-13 symbol as well as the standard UPC-A. This change will eliminate the need for manufacturers who export goods to the US and Canada to double-label their products.

The first 2 (sometimes 3) digits, which are called the “flag”, indicate in what country the bar code was issued. This “flag” does not tell you, however, in what country the product was produced.

The country codes used are :

 

CODE

COUNTRY

00-13

USA & Canada

20-29

reserved for local use (shops/supermarkets)

30-37

France

380

Bulgaria

383

Slovenia

385

Croatia

387

Bosnia-Herzegovina

400-440

Germany

45

Japan

46

Russian Federation

471

Taiwan

474

Estonia

475

Latvia

476

Azerbaijan

477

Lithuania

478

Uzbekistan

479

Sri Lanka

480

Philippines

481

Belarus

482

Ukraine

484

Moldova

485

Armenia

486

Georgia

487

Kazakhstan

489

Hong Kong

49

Japan

50

UK

520

Greece

528

Lebanon

529

Cyprus

531

Macedonia

535

Malta

539

Ireland

54

Belgium & Luxembourg

560

Portugal

569

Iceland

57

Denmark

590

Poland

594

Romania

599

Hungary

600-601

South Africa

609

Mauritius

611

Morocco

613

Algeria

619

Tunisia

621

Syria

622

Egypt

624

Libya

625

Jordan

626

Iran

627

Kuwait

628

Saudi Arabia

629

United Arab Emirates

64

Finland

690-692

China

70

Norway

729

Israel

73

Sweden

740

Guatemala

741

El Salvador

742

Honduras

743

Nicaragua

744

Costa Rica

745

Panama

746

Dominican Republic

750

Mexico

759

Venezuela

76

Switzerland

770

Colombia

773

Uruguay

775

Peru

777

Bolivia

779

Argentina

780

Chile

784

Paraguay

785

Peru

786

Ecuador

789

Brazil

80-83

Italy

84

Spain

850

Cuba

858

Slovakia

859

Czech Republic

860

Serbia & Montenegro

869

Turkey

87

Netherlands

880

South Korea

885

Thailand

888

Singapore

890

India

893

Vietnam

899

Indonesia

90 -91

Austria

93

Australia

94

New Zealand

955

Malaysia

958

Macau

977

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number for periodicals)

978

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

979

ISMN (International Standard Music Number)

 

More information and source : http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/barcodes.htm

 

 



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