Have you ever looked really closely at the barcode labels found on just about every product sold to consumers today? Have you ever wondered what the funny lines and apparently random line of numbers meant? Well this article can help answer all the questions you ever had about UPC barcode labels. By the time you finish reading, not only will you understand where UPC barcode labels came from but you'll also be able to decipher any barcode label you come across.

Barcode labels have been around since the 1940s but it wasn't until the late 1970s that barcode labels really caught on as a means of decreasing checkout times in food markets and other retail establishments. UPC stands for Universal Product Code and it the secret behind why barcode labels are so successful. The Uniform Code Council (UCC) devised the UPC system for use with barcode labels to speed up the checkout system and produce higher customer satisfaction.

Each UPC barcode label contains the line barcode, which is read by a barcode scanner, and a six- or 12-digit number that can be read by humans. When a company develops a product that they want to use barcode labels with the UPC on them, the company must apply to the UCC to enter the UPC barcode label system. The company is given a specific manufacturer identification code and some guidelines on how to use UPCs with barcode labels. This ID is the first six numbers on the UPC barcode labels.

The following five numbers on the barcode label are the specific product's identification numbers. The final number, the really small one, is called a check number and it used to prove to the scanner that no fraud is taking place. The scanner uses a complicated formula to calculate what the check number should be and as long as they agree, the barcode label is considered authentic.

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