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Barcodes and country of origin

Label reading is an important skill to develop when seeking a chemical-free lifestyle and it pays to understand what information on a label can and cannot tell you. Recently an email has been widely distributed that suggests that by noting the first couple of digits in a barcode, you can figure out where a product is made. Unfortunately it is not quite that simple as the digits appearing first, for example a 93 which is Australia, only indicate where the product was first ‘registered’ and do not indicate country of origin at all.

Many countries require the country of origin to be shown on a product label, but note that ‘grown in’, ‘packaged in’ and ‘manufactured in’ may all be processes done in different countries, which means you will need to read the label very closely. There is no doubt that foods produced in other countries may be prepared to different standards and we need to be vigilant, but a barcode alone is not enough information for us to be truly informed.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world.

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