Can Chinese products be identified from the first three digits of a barcode? Here's the truth

0 102

Multiple posts have been circulating on social media asking people to boycott the use of Chinese products, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China.
The posts claim that China-made products can be identified by the first three digits of a barcode. These posts also urge people to identify Chinese products through this method and boycott them.
One of such posts says that “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 690-695 then it is Made in China.” It further states that the barcode for Indian products are 890.

Such claims have also been circulating in the United States in favour of American products.


We fact-checked these claims and found them to be false.
While using keywords from these claims, we ran a search and found an article from 2011 showing that such rumours had circulated as early as 2008 in the U.S.
On reading further, we first understood through – an agency that provides UPC and EAN barcodes to all-size businesses in the United States, Canada and throughout the world – that the barcodes in question in the posts are called EAN or European Article Number, now known as International Article Number used internationally whereas the UPC is used in the U.S and Canada.

The next step was to understand the components of the EAN barcodes and whether it signified where a product was made.
We went to the FAQ section of GS1 –a not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication.
In the FAQs, it is clearly stated that the first few digits of the EAN do not show the country of origin. It rather shows the prefix of the GS1 member organization that allocated the barcode number. The GS1 prefix does not indicate that the product was manufactured in a specific country or by a specific manufacturer; it may have been produced anywhere in the world.

Hence, it is clear that any barcode that begins with numbers ranging from 690 to 695 does not mean that the product was made in China.
The posts claiming this are fake.

If you want to fact-check any story, WhatsApp it now on +91 88268 00707






    Picture/video url


    Click here for Latest News updates and viral videos on our AI-powered smart news