Deciphering Bar Codes.....Interesting.....

Jul 21, 2006
Southwest Florida
I've noticed a few threads lately where the member was wondering just how you can tell where your handbag is made, so I copied this information from the internet which might be useful for answering that question, or for anything else, for that matter:

Subject: Fw: See Where It Is Made

This�may be useful to know�when grocery shopping, if it's a concern to you.

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
30 - 37
40 - 44���GERMANY
47 ... Taiwan



Sylvie Guillem fan
May 10, 2006
Thanks, OP. This is really helpful information!

Do you happen to know the codes for Australia and New Zealand?

I only eat produce grown in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The other countries are too loose with regulations regarding pesticides and other scary stuff.

Since bananas stopped coming from Hawaii, I've had to give them up. I miss bananas.


Lovin' Life!
Apr 21, 2006
Actually, this is somewhat untrue. According to this bar code information site

Does the barcode number indicate the country of origin of a product?

No it doesn't. The 3-digit prefix code indicates which GS1 numbering organization has allocated the block of numbers to the company. Once the company has been assigned the block of numbers, they self assign each individual number in the block to a given product. For example, a company may have it's headquarters in South Africa. The GS1 organization in South Africa has the code "600", but all the products of the company may be manufactured in England. The English-made products would still have the "600" prefix code. The prefix code is a way to have 70-plus GS1 member organizations issuing numbers without having to worry about duplicate numbers. The 3-digit prefix indicates the country of the GS1 organization that issued the block of numbers, not the country of origin of the product. GS1 (the international organization that administers UPC and EAN) has a clear statement that the prefix DOES NOT indicate the country of origin of the product. A list of country codes can be found on the UPC & EAN Page.
More information here: and supports this as well:


Broadway Baby
Aug 1, 2008
Definitely interesting information, although as redney indicates, I don't think it's actually as simple as that. It's worth knowing the system....but the write up is a little out there.

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.
That blasted government, always expecting people to take responsibility and educate themselves with publicly available information!

People will find a conspiracy in anything.