The barcode turns 50. Where it’s used may surprise you


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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The essential and revolutionary tool often goes overlooked but after half a century of utility, the barcode is evolving with the times.

The first ever product to be scanned was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum at a grocery store in Troy, Ohio in 1974. Since then, barcodes have become ubiquitous with shopping.

Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 US, a not-for-profit and authorized source for UPC barcodes, estimates around 10 billion items get scanned using barcodes every day. And it’s not just at the grocery store or shopping mall.

“The barcode and the GHS one standards that are used within the barcode are used across 25 different industries,” Carpenter explained. “But some areas that you might not associate a barcode to be used are in areas like the movement of cash between Federal Reserve banks and retail establishments or barcodes used within hospitals to open and close doors.”