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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Misleading Email: How To Read Bar Codes--Very Good To Know

I received the following email and immediately decided to post it for all. As I reached towards the publish button I thought, ‘Let me just do a search on the subject line. I’m glad I did because I found that the info incomplete. However, it still may be useful.  Below the email is an article I found on


With all the food and pet products now coming from China , it is best to make sure you read labels at the grocery store and especially Wal-Mart when buying food products. Many products no longer show where they were made, only give where the distributor is located. It is important to read the bar code to track it's origin.

How to read Bar Codes ...interesting! This may be useful to know when grocery shopping, if it's a concern to you. GREAT WAY TO "BUY USA  &  CANADA " AND NOT FROM CHINA!!
The whole world is afraid of China-made "black hearted goods".
Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or  China ?
If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 690, 691 or 692, the product is MADE IN  CHINA. 471 is Made in  Taiwan.

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.
Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products "MADE IN CHINA", so they don't show from which country it is made.  

However, you may now refer to the barcode -
remember if the first 3 digits are:

690-692 ... then it is MADE IN  CHINA
00 - 09 ...   USA   &  CANADA
30 - 37 ...   FRANCE
40 - 44 ...   GERMANY
471  ...  Taiwan
49 ...     JAPAN
50 ...     UK

BUY USA & CANADIAN MADE by watching for "0" at the beginning of the number. We need every boost we can get!

How to Read 12 Digit UPC Barcodes

edits by:Karaoke99, Josh Hannah, Ben Rubenstein, Jack Herrick (see all)


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Read 12 Digit UPC Barcodes

Most bar codes in the US are 12-digit UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes, with ten digits at the bottom of the code and one small number to each side. Impress your friends by asking them to select a random item from the kitchen with a removable label and cut the numbers off of the UPC barcode; you can then proceed to read the numbers encoded in the lines.

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edit Steps

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    Note that barcodes are made up of both white and black lines. The white spaces in between the black lines are part of the code.

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  1. 1

    Understand that there are four different thicknesses to the lines. Henceforth, the skinniest line will be referred to as "1," the medium-sized line as "2," the next largest line as "3." and the thickest is "4."

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    Recognize that each UPC barcode begins and ends with 101 (thin black, thin white, thin black). In the very middle of the barcode, you will notice two thin black lines sticking down between the numbers. The thin white between them, as well as the thin whites to either side, make up a 01010. Each UPC barcode has 01010 in the middle.

    Image:UPC_EANUCC 12_barcode.png

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    Recognize that each digit, including the small numbers that begin and end the barcode, has its own unique four-line set. 0 = 3211, 1 = 2221, 2 = 2122, 3 = 1411, 4 = 1132, 5 = 1231, 6 = 1114, 7 = 1312, 8 = 1213, 9 = 3112. (Note that the sum of bar widths numbers is 7 for all codes because each code is 7 units wide.) Notice that the line colors are reversed after the center-line: The lines of the digits to the left are white/black/white/black whilst to the right they are black/white/black/white. This provides some error checking and allows the reader to know the direction in which it is scanning a code. It is also crucial so that the barcode ends with a bar rather than a space. So, actually, each digit has two codes.

  1. 1

    So, the barcode above whose first two digits are 03 would start out "10132111411". Broken down this is "101-3211-1411" where 101 marks the beginning of the bar code and 3211 marks the digit 0 .

  • UPC Barcodes are typically registered and used in the United States and Canada and, therefore, do not indicate a country identifier.
  • A similar bar code system is EAN (European Article Number). It contains 13 digits and also indicates the country in which the bar code was registered. Read the first "3" digits of the code to determine this.
    • Example: If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 690, 691, or 692, the country in which the code was registered was China.
  • It is important to note that the country code in EAN bar codes DOES NOT indicate where the product was manufactured (see Do Bar Codes Reveal Where a Product Is Made). For example, if the barcode begins with 64, then it was registered in Finland (probably to a company that was headquartered in Finland). Look more closely at the packaging, however, and you may find that the product was "Made in China".

1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing great stuff.. Enjoyed the subject which in turn will protect us- much thanks poster!