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WHAT DO THE DIGITS IN THE EAN / GTIN BARCODE MEAN?

Currently, almost all products available on store shelves have a barcode. The most common of these is the EAN type code, usually eight or thirteen characters long. For many people it is usually a sequence of random numbers, but in fact each of them has a specific meaning.

EAN codes were introduced in 1977 by the European Article Numbering organization, from which their abbreviation is derived. They are based on the previously introduced UPC codes used in the United States and Canada. In 2005, the international organization GS1 used the unification of these two codes under the abbreviation GTIN, expanded as the Global Trade Item Number. Despite this, the abbreviations EAN and UPC are still widely used in the barcode industries.

What's in the EAN / GITN code? As an example, we will take the most popular code known from everyday products, i.e. EAN-13. The first three digits represent the country code, also known as the GS1 Prefix. At this point, a myth should be dispelled - this number does not represent the country of origin of the product or company, but is the national identifier of the GS1 organization in which the goods are registered.

The next nine numbers are assigned to the manufacturer code and product code. The manufacturer's code is always a fixed value and is issued by the GS1 organization. Together with the GS1 Prefix, they form the GS1 Company Prefix. The characters that change within one manufacturer are the product code that is assigned successively when registering a new product by the manufacturer. The last character is a check digit. It is generated automatically based on the previously entered string of characters. It is calculated using the modulo 10 algorithm.

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