How to read Food Bar Codes
If the first 2 digits on the barcode is 93 then this manufacturer registered the bar code with the official GS1 Australian organisation. There are various emails going around the internet claiming that the first 2 or 3 digits determine the country of origin of the product, but it does not. These numbers simply mean that the manufacturer registered the product bar code in one of the official country GS1 organisations.
To complicate matters again, the USA generally uses a different barcode system: UPC-A which does not reference any country in any way, and many European countries use yet another system, the European Article Number (EAN-13) where the country code IS embedded in the bar code.
Where our Food comes fromA Current Affair recently reported on frozen vegetables imported into Australia from New Zealand.
If the product is a "home brand" from Coles or Woolworths, it may well have originated from China.
Other "name brand" products such as McCain’s, Birdseye and others from New Zealand can now be sourcing vegetables from China, then selling them as their own product. Unfortunately, New Zealand laws do not prevent this from happening.
If the the pack is labelled "Produced from New Zealand and Imported product" it almost invariably contains Chinese, Vietnamese, Hong Kong or Thailand products where there are no regulations or inspections.
Even if it claims "Product of New Zealand" there may still be some doubt about the origin.
Highliner brand fish come from China, raised in pens and treated with banned cancer-causing chemicals, but come in a box labelled "Product of Canada".
Product of AustraliaIf the label claims "Product of Australia" or "Grown and packed in Australia" then it generally should be totally home-grown where strict food laws apply.
If the label states "Made from Local and Imported ingredients" then in almost every case, there is zero Australian content apart from perhaps packaging.
What is wrong with Chinese produce?Foods grown or processed in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong or Thailand have zero food inspection regulations!
These countries often use dangerous chemicals which are banned in Australia, USA, UK and Europe.
Chinese food producers no longer label anything "Made in China" because they know that Chinese food products are likely to be contaminated and are not trusted.
List of Common Bar Code PrefixesFor a more complete list, see www.gs1au.org/
|USA and Canada||00 to 13|
|France||30 to 37|
|Germany||40 to 44|
|Switzerland and Liechtenstein||76|
|United Arab Emirates||629|
|Central America||740 to 745|
|Philippines||All 480 codes|
|China||690 to 699|
A Simple way to avoid problemsSimply avoid all packaged food.
Buy fresh food from the fruit and vegetable department, preferably in the organic section, or better still, buy from your local Farmer's Market where you can talk to the people who grow the food, and seek assurances about use of chemicals, etc.
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Open2Study, Australia - Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia - Foundations of Psychology
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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics II
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TUFTS University, USA - Nutrition and Medicine
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Bath University, England - Inside Cancer
WebMD - The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
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Updated 10th December 2016, Copyright © 1999-2017 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285