A common myth about UPC/EAN barcodes is that you can trace the country of origin from a barcode. The beginning segment of UPC (US/Canada) and EAN barcodes are comprised of an assigned Company Prefix from the local GS1 numbering office of each country. The prefix assignments by each local country office begin with a particular unique prefix (Country Code).
It is important to note that companies license prefixes based on where their primary offices are located and NOT where products are manufactured. A company such as Nike, manufactures shoes and clothes from various factories around the world but their products are normally marked with UPC barcodes.
In the US, when a company licenses its UPC Company Prefix, they are issued a certificate that conveys BOTH the UPC Company Prefix and the corresponding GS1 Company Prefix, which is an added zero to the left.
One of the visual differences between UPCs and EANs ❮link difference page❮ is that UPCs display 12 digits (GTIN-12) and EANs display 13 digits (GTIN-13). UPCs actually contain a padded zero as part of their prefix so they essentially are scannable worldwide. The 2 barcodes illustrated below actually would scan the same depending on the location of the scanner.
Here is the current list of barcode country codes used worldwide.
Access to GTIN.cloud® enables members to completely manage their GTIN assignments, create high-resolution barcodes, and control their associated product data.
More importantly, an assigned personal GS1 Barcode consultant will not only assist with any and all questions but will validate information BEFORE publishing.