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How to Read Bar Codes in Products to know country of origin (first 3 digits)
For example, if you want to avoid China-made products, via online research, bar codes revealed that first 3 digits starting off with 690-695 are from China. But mind you again that since the 2008 global revelation that melamine scare became widespread and is a must avoid, some (not all) China products and their respective manufacturers, to avoid getting caught in the war of quality products and melamine scare opted in to change their bar codes.
Of course there were no proof at all to this claim but chances are, to avoid losses and bankruptcy, indeed, If I were one of those manufacturers strongly affected by the scare, I would definitely find the best, quickest and fastest way to have my products sold still in markets and be globally accepted. It so happened that one way to do just that is to change the bar codes appearing in my products. Now, again, I’m not saying that all manufacturers did this but apart from the fact that there is no proof to it, there is also no evidence telling that none of them did it. On the other hand, if you want to learn more, I suggest that you read some ehow guides I was able to find while searching online. They have a 3 numbered-guide there that you can count on but be sure to learn how to distinguish which works for you and which doesn’t. Please check with your grocery or supplier for 100% assurance if you are more particular about knowing which country a product you are buying as a regular consumer is from.
So here goes with respect to standards. I found out that there are data revealing these information:
690-695 ~ Made in China .
00 – 13 ~ USA & CANADA
30 – 37 ~ FRANCE
40 – 44 ~ GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland
76 ~ Switzerland and Lienchtenstein
471 ~ Taiwan
628 ~ Saudi-Arabia
629 ~ United Arab Emirates
690-695 ~ China
740-745 ~ Central America
All 480 Codes ~ The Philippines
You can also find a quick guide from Snopes.
There were also revelations and a widespread email campaign launched by some concerned citizens probably pertaining to information and data that guides consumers on how to read bar codes and determine from which country any food, drink and yes even meat and canned products came from. You can read the short email here.