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A claim is being shared on social media that products with barcodes with prefixes 729 and 871 are made in Israel. The claim accompanies a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with an overlaid text in red stating "product BOYCOTT mandatory" with two barcodes showing the digits prefixed 729 and 871. This claim has been spread amid the recent heated conflict between Israel and Palestine.
One of the viral posts shared on Facebook on May 17, 2021, has over 34,000 shares.
The viral image has received 400 comments. These claims are being made to encourage social media users to boycott Products made in Israel. The post has been shared across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Barcodes with prefixes 729 and 871 indicate the product is made in Israel.
Doing a keyword search, we found a non-profit organization, GS1, which develops and maintains global standards for business communication and provides company prefixes for barcodes. According to the website, it gives a long list of barcodes to different countries.
The list shows that prefix 729 is Israel's GS1 code, and the numbers 870-879 are Dutch GS1 codes. GS1 also notes that "since GS1 member companies can manufacture products anywhere in the world, GS1 prefixes do not identify the country of origin for a given product."
The FAQ section of the GS1 has addressed the question of whether a product's barcode prefix can identify a country's origin.
"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."
Nationwide Barcode, a company that provides barcodes to businesses in the US and Canada, says that labels on a product help to identify where a product is made. Though many products do not show information on where they were made nowadays, it only provides the information on distributor's location.
Reuters have also reported several articles on misconceptions of barcodes with products made in India in April 2020.
In the claim, the photo of Netanyahu has been used from the picture of Netanyahu's meeting with US Secretary Mike Pompeo in Tel Aviv in 2018, which was published in the Flickr account of the US Department of state.
Though Barcode prefixes indicate the country of manufacturing, they do not denote where the product was made.
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