Barcode Country Code Prefix
What is this, and what does it mean?
Many people mistakenly believe that the first few digits of the barcode numbers show the product’s country of origin. 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 from any specific country can have any barcode number on them. Please see the GS1 website about this.
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.
Barcode numbers beginning with 94 are the barcode numbers that come directly from GS1 NZ. The ONLY legal way to get numbers starting with 940-949 is to join GS1-NZ. GS1 is a membership organisation which distributes barcodes by licensing them out for a yearly fee. Companies like Barcodes New Zealand, who 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 94, 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.
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 something 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 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|