The First 3 Digits On Barcode Labels Represents The Country of Origin-Truth!Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email that shows how to determine whether a product is from China from by looking at the the Universal Product Code label.
The Truth:

This forwarded email is partially true.

The first digits of a UPC barcode are referred to as a company prefix. It’s used to identify product manufacturers, and their country of origin. Companies that are based in China are assigned a three-digit company prefix between 690-699.

But there’s a catch.

The company pre-fix doesn’t identify a product’s country of origin. It identifies the origin of the company that made the product. That means if you buy a product with a U.S. company prefix (1-19, 30-39 or 60-139), there’s a chance that the product was manufactured outside the U.S., and possibly in China.

A non-profit group called GS1 manages the UPC system that is used by retailers, manufacturers and suppliers around the world. Companies that want a barcode that can be scanned anywhere in the world have to apply to become a GS1 member. The next step is for a company prefix to be assigned so that every product can be traced back to its manufacturer.

Updated 5/23/15.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Bar Codes (GOOD TO KNOW)

Very good info! I’m not buying anything else Made in China. We had 2 foreign exchange students from China living with us & they always checked bar codes. They would put some things down and say ‘no good – not same as in China’ When we asked them about that later, they said China sends the inferior things to the U.S.A., for what its worth.

Bar Codes Identify Country of Origin – Be Sure to Check Them

The whole world is scared of China-made ‘black hearted goods’. Can you differentiate which one is made in the USA ,
Philippines , Taiwan or China ?

For example, the first 3 digits of the bar code reflect the country code where the product was made.

All bar codes that start with 690, 691, 692, thru 695 are MADE IN CHINA.

Bar code items starting with 471 are Made in Taiwan like this one:


Chinese businessmen know that American consumers don’t prefer products ‘Made in China ‘, so they don’t show from which country it originates any longer.

However, you may now refer to the barcode. Remember if the first 3 digits are in the range 690-695, then it is Made in China .

00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA

30 ~ 37 FRANCE

40 ~ 44 GERMANY

49 ~ JAPAN

50 ~ UK

57 ~ Denmark

64 ~ Finland

76 ~ Switzerland & Lienchtenstein

471 ~ Taiwan

480 ~ Philippines

628 ~ Saudi Arabia

629 ~ UAE (United Arab Emirates)

740-745 ~ Central America

Please inform your family and friends.

It is our human right to know, but its not the government’s job to educate the public, just to rake in the taxes.

Therefore, we have to protect ourselves & make everyone aware.