RMSCC Supply Chain Information Standard

Standard: Case/Carton Labels (barcodes)
Status: Released
Issue date: Oct 2005
Endorsement: Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee, AUS-MEAT, Woolworths Group Limited, Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, Metcash Limited, GS1

The purpose of this standard is to define a consistent supply chain approach to the numbers and barcodes applied to cases or cartons of meat for ease of barcode scanning and data interoperability along the red meat supply chain.

The overall objective is to ensure that each participant along the red meat supply chain can easily extract the trade information about trade-level cases/ cartons of meat.

Each case/ carton is barcoded following the GS1 standards to ensure that each case/ carton is barcoded with a global unique number that provides the basis for traceability along the whole supply chain. For more information on the GS1 standards go to: gs1.org


This RMSCC Supply Chain Information Standard is a voluntary meat industry standard. The use of this standard may be a commercial requirement for certain supply chains and may be required for participation in certain industry programs such as Meat Messaging.

This RMSCC Supply Chain Information Standard is limited to cases/ cartons of non-retail trade meat and meat-related products. This may include cases/ cartons that provide outer packaging for a group of retail ready products. The packaging size of the non-retail trade meat and meat related products may range from less than 1 kilogram through to bulk package in excess of 1000 kilograms.

The cases/ cartons of non-retail trade meat and meat-related products are intended for domestic and international export supply chains.

The packaging of cases/ cartons of non-retail trade meat and meat-related products include single use cardboard as well as reusable tubs or tote containers.

All packaging will be labelled with a suitable market compliant trade label (compliant to trade descriptions and AUS-MEAT National Accreditation Standards requirements) including a GS1-128 barcode with the information and encoding defined in this standard.


AUS-MEAT trade descriptions and AUS-MEAT National Accreditation Standards requirements, GS1 GTIN standards, GS1 Application identifiers.


Barcode Symbology

The Barcode symbology used in the Australian Red Meat Industry Standard Variable Weight Carton Label is GS1-128 (previously called UCC/EAN-128). The GS1-128 barcode allows secondary attribute information over and above primary item identification to be represented in the barcode. Application Identifiers (AIs) effectively act as prefixes for this information and define the meaning and structure of the embedded data which follows.

AIs allow you to represent attribute information such as batch numbers, serial numbers, expiry dates and weight in a standard format. This ensures that the attribute information encoded by one company can also be scanned and interpreted by any other company in the supply chain.

Carton label barcode numbers

Minimum barcode information required represented by Application Identifiers (AIs)

AI Example Data & Format Attribute Information
(01) 99327111031766
n14- 14 digits numeric (fixed length)
Global Trade Item Number
Item Identification. (Primary identification of the product carton)
9 indicates that it is a variable measure (weight) product
93271110 - GS1 Company Prefix. (7, 8 or 9 digits in length depending on the GS1 prefix allocated)
3176 – Company product code or AUSMEAT code. (3, 4 or 5 digits in length)
6 – Check digit
(310n) 000262
n6 - 6 digits numeric (fixed length)
Net Weight - Kilograms
In this example as n = 1, start at the very right of the measurement data field and count to the left 1 place. The net weight is 26.2kg.
(n indicates that the position of the decimal point is n places to the left of the end of the number e.g. 3101) NB: Weight information is mandatory if the item is a variable weight trade item.
(13) 050417
n6 - 6 digits numeric (fixed length)
Packaging Date (YYMMDD)
In this example the packaging date is 17th April 2005.
(21) 41457354
an…20 – alpha numeric up to 20 characters (variable length)
Serial Number
In this example an 8 digit numeric only serial number has been allocated. NB: If a generic product is produced by more than one manufacturer and barcoded with a customer's item identification number, then possible duplication of serial numbers could exists.


Concatenation (stringing AIs together) is an effective means for presenting multiple element strings in a single GS1-128 barcode and should be used to conserve space and optimise scanning operations.

Maximum Length

When concatenating AIs the maximum number of characters in the GS1-128 barcode symbol must not exceed 48. This includes Function Code 1 (FNC1) when used as a field separator but excludes auxiliary characters and the Symbol Check Character (Modulo 103).

The length of the GS1-128 barcode symbol must never exceed 165 mm, including the Quiet Zones (light margins).


The size of the GS1-128 barcode symbol depends on:

  • The X-dimension (single bar width) chosen.
  • The number of characters encoded.
  • The number of non-numeric characters in the data.

For the meat industry it was determined that it would be primarily a hand scanning requirement which has an allowable magnification range of 25% - 100% (X-dimension 0.25 mm - 1.02 mm).

For GS1-128 barcode symbols that are to be scanned in a General Distribution Environment (primarily automated scanning), the allowable magnification range is 48.7% - 100% (X-dimension 0.50 mm - 1.02 mm).

Height of Bars

In the meat industry the minimum bar height is 13 mm. For scanning in a General Distribution (automated scanning) environment, the minimum bar height for a GS1-128 barcode symbol is 32 mm.

Human Readable Interpretation

Print the human readable interpretation either above or below the symbol bars. Make sure the Application Identifiers (AIs) are clearly recognisable by placing them in brackets in the human readable interpretation only.

Barcode Symbol Placement

The barcode symbols on units not intended for retail POS should be upright (i.e. in picket fence orientation) and placed on the sides of the unit. Each item shall have at least one barcode symbol, and two are highly recommended. The barcode symbols should be kept away from any vertical edges so that they are less likely to be accidentally damaged in transit.

All measures should be made to ensure the barcode is scannable 100% of the time.

The barcode symbol can be positioned anywhere along the face of the carton ensuring that the following GS1 recommendations are followed:

  • The lower edges of the vertical bars are exactly 32 mm from the lower edge of the base of the carton.
  • No part of the barcode symbol, including Quiet Zones (Light Margins), is closer than 19 mm to any vertical edge.
Comments and Feedback:

Comments and feedback about this standard are sort from industry. This includes any requests for any enhancements or changes. Any submitted comments, feedback or change requests are reviewed by the Work Group following the RMSCC Core Principles and the RMSCC Standards Development model. To submit comments, feedback or change requests click on this link: RMSCC Feedback and Change Requests.

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