How Do You Identify the Country of Origin From the Barcode?


Quick Answer

The country of origin or manufacturing country cannot be found through any special coding or numbering of barcodes. The best way to find the origin country is the tag or sticker specifying the country of origin with a "Made in [country name]" designation.

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Full Answer

Worldwide standards organization GS1 gives out all barcode assignments. The first two digits of the UPC or three digits of the EAN identify the GS1 member-country organization. These digits indicate which country issued the UPC or EAN barcode for the item under inspection. It does not necessarily indicate the country of manufacture.

A product is often manufactured in one country, shipped to another for distribution and sometimes sold from a unique third country. The manufacturer, retailer or distributor can be responsible for requesting the UPC or EAN. The country that assigns the barcode can then be found with the first two to three digits of the UPC or EAN. There is no way to know from the barcode at what point in the process the barcode was requested.

The Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Customs and Border Protection define the requirements for "Made in" labels. While not always reliable, these labels are added by manufacturers and can often identify the country of origin when barcodes cannot.

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