How to Determine Country of Origin From Barcodes

••• E. J. Sanders/Demand Media

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Learning to read barcodes is like breaking a code. Numbers found in a bar code indicate information about the product and the company that manufactures the product, including the country where the company producing the product resides. There are two types of bar codes: The UPC-A bar code and the European Article Number (EAN).

Step 1

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Look for the bars and numbers on the back, side or bottom of a package. Most products sold in the United States will use the UPC-A bar code system.

Step 2

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Identify the manufacturer code. The first number in the UPC-A system is the type of product. It is usually a single number to the left of the code or otherwise separated. The next three to five numbers on the left are the manufacturer code.

The EAN system uses two numbers to identify the product, the following two or three numbers are the manufacturer’s code.

Step 3

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Look at the next two or three digits. These are the country of origin for the company.

Step 4

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Check the code against the country code (see Resources) to match the number sequence to the country.

Warnings

  • The country of origin indicated in barcodes may not be the same country where a product was manufactured. It is the country where the company that produces the product is headquartered. A company located in Switzerland could have manufacturing sites in India, China or other country. A more reliable method for finding the country in which a product was manufactured is to look for a "made in" label on the product packaging.

References

Resources

About the Author

Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.

Photo Credits

  • E. J. Sanders/Demand Media