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. The ONLY legal way to get to starting 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.
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., New Zealand, then the best way to do this is to print “Made in New Zealand” or similar on the product. This is an advertising claim and must be provable if challenged. (Some manufacturers also print “Made in New Zealand” 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 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 type of restrictions on barcodes can be seen here.
Below is a list of country codes assigned to individual GS1 organisations around the world, plus country codes assigned by Government Agencies within some countries:
|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|