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Insights for the Food and Grocery Industry

Unveiling the power of barcodes: Crucial roles beyond the checkout counter

The Universal Product Code (UPC) or barcode on consumer products like cereal may seem inconspicuous, but it plays a critical role beyond the checkout counter. In addition to facilitating sales, it serves as a crucial identifier in supply chain management and product recalls. The 12-digit UPC can provide valuable data, and in the event of a recall, it becomes a key reference point. Costco’s prompt response to a cereal recall highlights the importance of this system. Liz Sertl, senior director at GS1 US, explains the history and significance of UPC and GS1-128 barcodes. GS1-128 barcodes, with their ability to encode detailed product information, offer advantages in logistics and recall situations. Proper barcode licencing from trusted sources like GS1 ensures credibility and facilitates global commerce. As regulations like FSMA 204 emphasise enhanced traceability, GS1 Standards continue to be integral to ensuring product safety and supply chain visibility.

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