Saturday, 10 April 2010

Interpreting Barcodes

This is one of these pieces of information I've always thought I should know but never taken the time to find out.

The first two or three digits of any barcode is the country where the product was made. Having had a rake through my fridge HP Brown Sauce is made in UK, Benecol spread is made in Switzerland and Tio Pepe is made somewhere beginning with a 74 code, which I assume is Spain. I've made a brief search to find a more comprehensive list than the one below but there's no information I can find.

Maybe someone will find one but at least we know goods starting with 50 are produced in the UK. I can see may of us will now check barcodes before we buy!

690-695 China

00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA

30 ~ 37 FRANCE

40 ~ 44 GERMANY

49 ~ JAPAN

50 ~ UK

57 ~ Denmark

64 ~ Finland

76 ~ Switzerland and Lienchtenstein

471 is Made in Taiwan (see sample above)

628 ~ Saudi-Arabien

629 ~ United Arab Emirates

740 ~ 745 - Central America

All 480 Codes are Made in the Philippines.


Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


You all right I am getting worried about you....This Election thing not getting to you??

Hythlodaeus said...

You can actually find a fuller list on Wikipeida:

For more information, that type of barcode is common in the EU, but isn't the only one used. It's type is known as EAN-13.

Richard said...

I can never hear of barcodes without thinking of the game on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue: 'Name That Barcode'. Link here if you don't know what I mean.

Sorry to interrupt with trivia.

Billy said...

Just to confuse you (and me)Subrosa I have just looked at two diecast model cars sitting on a shelf on my desk - One a Land Rover Freelander, Made in China on the box starts with 353 which should be France/Monaco. The other a Volvo C30, also says Made in China on the box starts with 733 which should be Sweden. So it looks like lookng at the barcode might not let you know the truth as to where the goods are made after all.

Anonymous said...

"In June 2005, Heinz purchased the parent company, HP Foods, from Danone.[4] In October of that year the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading referred the takeover to the Competition Commission,[5] who gave the go-ahead for the £440 million acquisition in April 2006.[6]

In May 2006, Heinz announced plans to switch production of HP Sauce from Aston to its European sauces facility in Elst, the Netherlands, ironically only weeks after HP launched a campaign to "Save the Proper British Cafe". The announcement prompted a call to boycott Heinz products. The move, resulting in the loss of approximately one hundred and twenty-five jobs at the Aston factory, was criticised by politicians and union officials, especially as the parent company still wanted to use the image of the House of Commons on its bottles. In the same month, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood brandished a bottle of HP Sauce during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons as part of a protest against the Heinz move. He also made reference to the sauce's popularity with the former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. These plans were confirmed on 23 August 2006[7] and the factory at Aston ceased production on 16 March 2007.[8] A week later a "wake" was held at the location of the factory.[9]

The factory was demolished in the summer of 2007.[10] The tower of the factory was a famous landmark alongside the Aston Expressway. The giant logo from the top of the tower is now in the collection of Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery."

How old is that bottle of sauce you've got??

Radio Free Britain said...

Tio Pepe.. A woman of taste.

Anonymous said...

It's a sight more interesting that the politicians' false promises.

I doubt I have anything that wasn't made in China though.

Anonymous said...

Talking of countries, just out of curiosity, will we still be the United Kingdom if Scotland becomes independent.

subrosa said...

Auch Niko, that's kind of you to be concerned. No, I'm not climbing the walls just yet. :)

subrosa said...

I had a quick look on Wiki Hythlodaeus but couldn't find a comprehensive list, although I did get lots of information.

Now I have the link that's great. Many thanks.

subrosa said...

Richard trivia is good so please don't apologise. Do like the link too. Thanks. :)

subrosa said...

I wondered how authentic they were Billy. Who supervises them? I see Rightwingit has info too.

subrosa said...

Rightwinggit, my sauce was bought two weeks ago from Tesco. So it's either old stock or the barcode is wrong and nobody cares. Would you agree?

subrosa said...

We all need a little luxury RFB. ;)

subrosa said...

Oh TS, I don't see why not do you? There would still be N Ireland and Wales.

As long as Scotland is still known as Scotland then all's fine with me. :)

subrosa said...

I thought it a little light hearted relief Tris, just to get away from the drivel spoken by politicians.

Anonymous said...

I'll drink to that!

John Pickworth said...

"The first two or three digits of any barcode is the country where the product was made."

Just to correct a common misconception... the country identifier actually records where the manufacturer registered for a reserved EAN number (barcode), not where the product itself was manufactured.

For example, the barcode image at the top of your article resolves to UNI-PRESIDENT COMPANY based in Tainan, Taiwan. You would need to consult the company itself or the country registrar to determine what product has been assigned to the final part of the EAN number 4710088'412539

Therefore Eg: 471 = Taiwan. 0088 = Uni-President Co. 41253 = Product. 9 = Checksum.

There used to exist several databases online that attempted to provide lists of products but they were rarely updated.

Here's an authoritive one (although it will not provide any product info):

Okay, better stop now... my geek is showing.

Can we get back to some politicking now?

subrosa said...

Ah John, you've certainly extended my knowledge on barcodes, along with other commenters. So I have to believe what it says on the tin 'Made in UK" and the barcode is of no real product value.

OK, back to politicking.

English Viking said...

I've got a tin-foil hat, so no snotty comments please;

The 2 lines at the front of every bar-code, which extend just a little lower than most of the others, represent the number 6, although there is no number underneath them to indicate this, but you can check the pattern against another code which contains a six. These slightly longer lines also appear in the middle and at the end of every bar-code.

That's right; a six at the beginning, a six in the middle and another six at the end.

Is that just spooky, or is it going to be really that simple?

subrosa said...

EV, we don't do snotty comments here as we're a respectful bunch. ;)

You're right you know. Why do you think that is?

Hythlodaeus said...

With regards to English Viking's comment, I'm neither religious nor particular superstitious. With that in mind, I'd suggest that the elongated, evenly spaced bars which resolve to 6 may well be some kind of guide to help the machines when scanning.

No doubt breaking up the barcode also helps staff who have to input the numbers manually.

subrosa said...

Now there's a thought Hythlodaeus, next time I'm in my friendly supermarket, I'll ask. Come to think of it, when they put it in manually I don't think they put the whole lot in. They seem too quick for that.

English Viking said...

More info:

English Viking said...

I'll try again:

English Viking said...

Can someone explain to stupid old man how to post a link?

subrosa said...

Thanks very much English Viking. It would be useful if the government provided detailed information on their website wouldn't it, but then perhaps that's too sensible an idea.

Maybe they think we just wouldn't understand it now our education system is so dumbed down.

subrosa said...

Ah English Viking, a subject one of my readers taught me just last week.


Replace the bit between the ""s with the URL you want then replace the Subrosa with what you want to appear. An example would be 'click here'.

Hope that helps.

subrosa said...

Ooops English Viking, my example's gone into a link. :(

Email me and I'll give you the html.

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