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Global bar codes

The Uniform Code Council (UCC) is urging U.S. retailers and manufacturers to redesign their databases to accommodate at least a 13- and preferably a 14-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) found on product packages.

Most databases in the U.S. currently are set up for a 12-digit UPC, which does not accommodate the European Article Number found on European packaging to identify the country of origin. As more and more products are traded internationally, a truly universal product code that accommodates the European Article Number international system will be needed, said UCC Board Chairman Craig Schnuck. A formal announcement is pending as to the date when retailers and manufacturers must convert to a 13-digit numbering system, he said. As as long as packagers are redesigning their databases, the UCC hopes most will adopt the full 14-digit data structure to differentiate levels of packaging, such as unit packages, cases and pallets.

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