How to Read The Country Of Origin in Barcodes!

When we go shopping for food supplies, we usually want to know the origin of food we buy.  It is so because consumers are highly aware that the country of origin many a times signals the good or bad quality of the food item, or other one for that matter.

If a product comes from a highly-polluted environment (such as heavy metal pollution, heavy traffic gasses, heavy soil pollution, or even poor soil nourishment, high radiation exposure, etc.), or it has gone through a process of “improvement” that is processing with harmful chemical substances, then it is certainly NOT an item you want in your shopping cart.

And these days, it seems that the entire world is reasonably scared of the overwhelming abundance of those China-made “black-hearted goods.”

Our question is: Can you tell which food item was made in the U.S., in the Republic of the Philippines, in Taiwan, or in the ill-famed China?

How to Read The Country of Origin In Barcodes:

Acknowledge that the first 2 (sometimes 3) digits [which are called the “flag”] indicate in which country the bar code was issuedThis “flag” however does not tell you in which country the product was produced!

For instance, in the sample bar code [you can see in the picture below] the first 3 digits 471 stand for Taiwan-made product. Then bar codes that start in 690, 691, 692… up to 695 are all CHINA- MADE!

Country Of Origin in Barcodes

If you look right now in your shopping bag, in your fridge or in your storeroom, you will see that almost each package you have dropped down there has a bar code printed on it. In fact, nearly every item you buy in a grocery shop, supermarket or in a superstore has a bar code on it somewhere.

For your info, here is some history on bar codes:

Bar codes were first used commercially in 1966, but it was soon realized 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 worked on, and led to the Universal Product Code (UPC) symbol set.

To this very day, this standard is used in the United States and in Canada . In the month of June in 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 the ordinary Wrigley’s Gum.

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

Presently, 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 U.S. Must be able to accept both the EAN-13 symbol and the normal UPC-A. This reform will eliminate the requirement for manufacturers that export goods to the United States and Canada to double-label their items.

We are all entitled to our human rights without prejudice. So, we do have every right as paying customers and consumers alike to know the meaning behind this food coding. But, as we all know, the government and its related departments never bother to educate the public and consumers. In such instance, we simply have to do it by ourselves just like any other do-it-yourself (DIY) project.

Indeed, Chinese businessmen know only too well that most consumers do not prefer a product with the label ‘made in China’ to other products in the market, so they opt not to show the country where it was made.

However, you may now refer to the barcode, and you might as well keep in mind that, if the first 2 or 3 digits are a number from 690-695, then the food item was surely made in China.

And here below, we give you the country codes of other countries that are in use:

00-13 USA & Canada
20-29 reserved for local use (shops/supermarkets)
30-37 France
380 Bulgaria
383 Slovenia
385 Croatia
387 Bosnia-Herzegovina
40-44 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)

Bar codes are something most of us never even give it a thought, right? But, if want to go health-wise, and if your imperative is to improve the quality of your current diet, and thus enjoy good health and longevity, we strongly advise you to pay close attention to these bar codes next time you find yourself in a shopping isle of a supermarket.

The food choices you make every day have a tremendous impact on your health, and on the quality of your overall life, as well as on the lives of people you love, care about, and ultimately live for.

One more thing to know: The country code does not always indicate where a product was actually made or manufactured. It only indicates where a barcode was issued. In today’s global economy, a manufacturer in China (or any other country) can indeed purchase 12-digit UPC or 13-Digit EAN barcodes, which will show a country code (first two or three digits) of a different country.

You will agree with us: It is always better to be safe than to be sorry!

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