Does the barcode number indicate the country of origin?


   Please click the [ Mark Complete ] button at the bottom of this page when you’ve completed these goals:

  • Explain how the first few digits on EAN barcodes indicate the country of origin of the barcode number only and are irrelevant to the product itself.
  • Be able to show customers evidence (web links) where GS1 itself clearly states that the country prefix does not relate to where a product originates.
Why is this a common question? 

We source our barcodes from the US, because this is where the relict population of millions of legitimate barcodes is available outside of GS1 regulation.

Therefore our barcodes have a US prefix.

Customers are sometimes concerned that our barcode prefix may suggest or show that their product originates in the US because of our US barcode prefixes. They don’t understand that the prefix shows only that the barcode itself comes from the US, which has never been a problem. When dealing with customer queries you may need to make this clear to reassure the customers.

Only the country of origin of the barcode number itself is indicated:

The first few digits on UPC-A or EAN-13 barcode numbers indicate the country of origin of the barcode number. This “GS1 country prefix” is an internal barcode-distribution mechanism used by GS1. Unfortunately, there is a false belief that retail barcodes have to use the prefix for their country of origin. this is a strongly-held belief.

Here are references that you can use where GS1 clarifies the issue:

GS1 :  FAQ Does the GS1 Prefix (first 2 or 3 digits of the EAN-13 barcode number) show the country of origin?

GS1 : GS1 Company Prefix – ID Keys | GS1

Wikipedia page of all GS1 Country Prefixes:  List of GS1 country codes – Wikipedia

We sell 06 and 07 prefix barcodes

Our barcode numbers start with 06 or 07, which indicates that the barcode numbers originally come from the US.

We supply these 06 and 07 numbers to customers throughout the world, including many in NZ, Australia, UK, Europe, India and Singapore, and they use them without any problems.

Our barcodes can be used worldwide – we have customers in 100+ countries using thousands of our barcode numbers without any problems.

A few retailers have extra barcoding restrictions – see   for details.

Why do we use US 06 and 07 barcodes?

These are relict barcode numbers that UCC (GS1) initially issued to UCC (GS1) members in the US. Following a legal struggle, GS1 lost regulatory control of these barcodes. They are however fully valid and legitimate.

For more explanation see: Creation of a relict population of unregulated barcodes