Global Tracking of Fresh Produce

You may have seen some strange looking bar codes on produce at your local grocery store recently..  They are part of a new food safety initiative to track produce from the field to the table.

As part of the GTIN (global tracking item number) system, these codes will allow specific lots of produce to be tracked from the farmer to the processor, distributor, and retail grocery store.

GTIN is really a database standard for storing the information, and these bar codes are just one implementation of the standard.  In the future the data scheme may be applied to RFID or other identification methods.

For more information, visit this website, or call us to discuss how we can help you with any bar code you may need.

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Typical UPC-A for retail

Typical UPC-A for retail

Many new products make the move to the ‘big time’ when they get a UPC code on their label.  This is required by many distributors and large chain stores.  The most common barcode format for retail packaging is the UPC.

UPC numbers must be registered, just like an internet domain name, so that when a code is scanned in the grocery store, the proper price is displayed and the store’s inventory is reduced by one unit to reflect the sale.

To make sure that two products don’t have the same UPC, like domain names, there is a central clearinghouse to coordinate this activity.  The clearinghouse is GS1 – formerly known as the Uniform Code Council.  You can find excellent information, and actually sign up for your own UPC code in minutes at this website:

GS1 – Barcode Leaders –

As always, you can call the experts at Rose City Label with barcode questions, too.  We are happy to help!