Barcodes that begin with 500 – 509 indicate that the barcode prefix was first issued by the UK branch of GS1. However the 500 – 509 prefix does not mean the product is of UK origin or “Made in the UK”. GS1 UK have confirmed this with their own publications. Snopes have also debunked this urban myth with their article here.
There’s no mandatory requirements to display a 500 – 509 prefixed code on products made in or from the United Kingdom. The “country code” of a barcode only shows which branch of GS1 first issued the prefix and does not show the manufacturer or product’s country of origin. Barcodes are a globally accepted standard and are not limited by any region. They can therefore be used in any country regardless of the original source.
The only legal way to obtain 500 – 509 prefixed barcodes is by joining GS1 UK directly and paying an annual subscription fee to GS1. If the fees are not paid GS1 can issue them to another party as per GS1 licence terms. Purchasing barcodes from GS1 can be prohibitively expensive for small businesses (£109 joining fee for 1 barcode) and requires on-going annual membership fees ( £119 annually for 1 barcode). The barcodes supplied by Barcode Bird are prefixed 060 – 089, originate with the Uniform Code Council (now GS1) and pre-date GS1’s move to a subscription based model.
Warning! – Barcode sellers other than GS1 UK who claim to supply barcodes beginning with a 500 – 509 prefix are intentionally misleading their customers. These sellers “make up” 500 – 509 numbers with a very high risk of collision against GS1 UK’s authentic numbers causing supply chain disruption. They have no affiliation with GS1 and are not authorised to supply 500 – 509 prefixed numbers (despite any claims made). If you buy a 500 – 509 barcode from a website other than GS1 there’s zero guarantee the barcode is actually unique and will not be issued by GS1 UK. When using websites like this duplication or “collision” with GS1 issued numbers is highly likely. Retailers and distributors generally side with a GS1 licensee over someone using illegitimate numbers. Some larger retailers will charge hefty penalties for not meeting their supply chain standards.
Barcode websites risking collision with GS1 UK
1. http://www.thebarcodesshop.co.uk (Global Barcodes located in Spain) – (see ruling of misleading advertising on the European Advertising Standards Authority’s webpage. This seller was also shut down by court order in India for selling fake GS1 India numbers. This website also has no security certificate posing a risk to users’ credit card details and personal information.
Don’t chance it – source your barcodes from GS1 UK or a reputable re-seller
Make sure your barcodes are sourced from the GS1/UCC system, the globally accepted standard for retail barcodes. Our barcode numbers were originally issued by the Uniform Code Council (the UCC now known as GS1-US). Our numbers are prefixed in the 060 – 089 range, are globally unique, and have not been assigned to any products prior to your purchase. Because our barcodes pre-date the GS1 subscription model they don’t require any annual fees. Therefore once your barcodes are purchased from Barcode Bird you retain sole ownership for life.
Our barcode numbers are suitable for use on products within the UK retail market and globally. We’ve sold barcodes to over 6000 customers globally since 2012 issuing over 1 million barcode numbers. To purchase valid, authentic and globally unique barcode numbers while avoiding the hassles of GS1 UK annual fees simply proceed to our buy barcodes page.