Products with 729 barcode prefix aren’t necessarily made in Israeli

By: Vivek J
December 19 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Products with 729 barcode prefix aren’t necessarily made in Israeli

Screenshots of the viral posts. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

While the barcode prefix 729 is allotted to Israel, not all products with this prefix are of Israeli origin.

Claim ID 0c9c13fb

What's the claim?

A post on social media claims that Israel has changed its product barcode from 729 to 871 due to boycotts on Israeli products in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The caption of a Facebook post from early November 2023 read, "Israel has changed its barcode *729* to *871*. Barcode changed as the public was boycotting Israeli products (sic)." Arch"ves of such posts can be seen here and here

Screenshots of the social media posts claiming that Israel changed its barcode prefix to 871 from 729. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, such claims are misleading.

What we found

We conducted a Google search, which led us to the website of GS1, a non-profit organization that assigns barcodes for products worldwide. Their website has provided a detailed description of the prefixes used on the barcodes, and the prefix 729 has been assigned to Israel. 

Screenshot of the prefix allocation for "729." (Source: GS1/screenshot)

The website notes, "Since GS1 user companies can manufacture products anywhere in the world, GS1 Prefixes do not identify the country of origin for a given product." The GS1 website also notes that the GS1 prefix "allows the creation of unique identifiers, including Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), represented in barcodes and communicated in electronic business messages. Companies use the numbers and barcodes to identify their products and services in the supply chain uniquely. A GS1 Member Organization typically issues the GS1 Company Prefix."

Further, in its FAQ section, GS1 has clarified that "No, The GS1 Prefix does not show the country of origin. An EAN-13 barcode number always starts with the GS1 Prefix of the GS1 Member Organisation that allocated the barcode number. The GS1 Prefix does not indicate that the product was manufactured in a specific country or by a specific manufacturer; it may have been produced anywhere in the world." 

According to a clarification issued by GS1 about its company prefix, "A GS1 company prefix can be used to determine which GS1 Member Organization (MO) allocated the prefix. However, this cannot be used to determine where an item was produced or distributed."

Has Israel changed the barcode prefix from 729 to 871?

While it is clear from the GS1 website that the prefix 729 is allotted to Israel, there have been no changes to this number. The number 871 is allocated to the Netherlands. According to the website, barcode prefix numbers 870 to 879 have all been assigned to the Netherlands. 

Some other social media posts noted that the barcode prefix 841 also belongs to products of Israeli origin and therefore called for boycotting products with these prefixes. 

Screenshots of the barcode prefix allocation for 841 and 871. (Source: GS1/Screenshot)

However, the prefix 841 is allotted to Spain (840 to 849). 

There is no basis for the claim that Israel has changed its barcode prefix or uses multiple prefixes. 

Calls to boycott Israeli products with a barcode prefix 729 have been online for several years, and they keep resurfacing every time there is an escalation in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Screenshots of the older posts calling to boycott Israeli products with the barcode prefix 729. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The verdict

GS1, the non-profit that allocates barcode prefixes worldwide, has allotted the prefix 729 to Israel. However, this does not mean that the products with this prefix are of Israeli origin. Claims that products with a barcode prefix 729 are of Israeli origin or that Israel is using multiple barcode prefixes are incorrect and misrepresented.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before