Barcode Country Code Prefix
What is this, and what does it mean?
Barcode numbers beginning with specifically assigned 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. GS1 is a membership organisation which distributes barcodes by licensing them out for a yearly fee. Companies like Barcode1 Ireland, which sell barcodes for a one-off cost, provide numbers typically starting with 06, 07 or 08 (which signifies the barcodes originated in the USA). If you see a company claiming to sell barcodes starting with your local country code (539 in Ireland), they are almost certainly selling made-up or illegal numbers.
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.
Origin of Product
Many people mistakenly believe that the first few digits of the barcode numbers show the country of origin of the product. However, the barcode number says NOTHING accurate about 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 that come from any specific country can have any barcode number on them.
If you want to demonstrate that your product is made in your own country, e.g., Ireland, then the best way to do this is to print “Made in Ireland” or similar on the product. This is an advertising claim and must be provable if challenged. (Some manufacturers also print “Made in Ireland” directly above the barcode to help customers).
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 this myth.
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 type of 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|
|660||Benin – issued by ANM Benin|
|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|