Barcode Country Code Prefix
What is this, and what does it mean?
Many people mistakenly believe that the first few digits of the barcode numbers show the product’s country of origin. However, the barcode number does not mean the country of origin of the product. The only thing that these first few digits show is the country of origin of the barcode number itself. So, in reality, products from any specific country can have any barcode number on them.
GS1 say this on their website. Please click here.
Barcode numbers beginning with specific country codes are the barcode numbers that come directly from GS1 in a specific country OR are issued by an official standards agency in that country.
In countries where GS1 exists, the ONLY legal way to get to start with these assigned country codes is to join GS1 – this means completing their membership forms and paying a joining fee and annual membership fees to GS1 – which is VERY expensive (GS1 only license the numbers to you – so you have to pay their annual fees every year for the rest of your product life). Please read this article by Peter Strong (head of the Council of Small Business of Australia) on ‘shadow regulators.’ These are not for profit organisations that have monopolistic control over the business community.
In countries where there is a non-GS1 Standards Body, the country-specific numbers can be obtained from that body or the International Barcodes Network agency in that country.
If you want to demonstrate that your product is made in your own country, e.g., Australia, then the best way to do this is to print “Made in Australia” or something similar on the product. This is an advertising claim and must be provable if challenged. (Some manufacturers also print “Made in Australia” directly above the barcode to help customers). All food in Australia needs to have the origin of food clearly labelled. Please see the Business.gov.au website.
The myth of the barcode number showing the country of origin of the product is an old myth that has been thoroughly debunked. Please see this Snopes article on the origins of this myth as well as a debunking of it.
All barcodes and barcode systems are designed for international use, so there are virtually no restrictions based on the country of origin worldwide. Any specific examples of stores placing any restrictions on barcodes can be seen here.
We are a member of an international network of barcode sellers that have customers in more than 120 countries using our barcodes without any problems.
Below is a list of country codes from GS1 organisations and other Standards Agencies around the world:
|0||USA / Canada|
|30–37||France & Monaco|
|387||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
|54||Belgium & Luxembourg|
|629||United Arab Emirates|
|760–769||Schwitzerland & Liechtenstein|
|96||GS1 Global Office: GTIN-8 allocations|
|977||Serial Publications (ISSN)|
|980||Return Coupons (refund receipts)|
|981–983||Common Currency Coupons|