Box barcodes

ITF-14 Code – 80000049641505

While the codes on consumer goods around us all use the same UPC/EAN barcodes, there are different formats, different carriers. One you might encounter is the ITF-14 system, which is easily recognisable by its thick black border, called the bearer bar, it is used to label shipping cartons and other boxes that are used to distribute good to the retail shops and or not always recognised by cashiers.

While the graphical representation is different from EAN codes, the information that is encoded within them is compatible: you can know what item is within a box by analysing the code. As the name ITF-14 suggests, the barcode carries a 14 digit number. Remove the leading digit, recompute the check-digit and depending on the number of initial zeroes, you get an EAN-13, a UPC code or an EAN-8.

EAN-8 Code – 49641509

Here the code is 80000049641505, strip the leading 8, and the remaining zeroes and you get 49641505, remove the check digit, we get 4964150 recompute the check digit: (0 × 3) + (5 × 1) + (1 × 3) + (4 × 1) + (6 × 3) + (9 × 1) + (4 × 3) = 51, subtract the last digit from 10 and you get the check-digit: 9. So the code of the items within that box is 49641509.

The value of the first digit of the ITF-14 is not very strictly defined, if it is zero, then the box is considered a single item, maybe because its content is heterogenous (in my limited experience this is pretty rare), 9 should never be present, as this would indicate bulk a good in bulk quantity, not typically what you have in a box. The other numbers just mean some level of packaging, the only recommandation is that higher levels of packaging (more stuff in it), mean a higher number.

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