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Could barcodes become shipping marks?

26 October 2023
Could barcodes become shipping marks?

AMPC is investigating whether the barcodes that are already included on every product label might be accepted for US exports in place of stamped or stickered shipping marks. 

If the US will accept the barcodes as shipping marks, it could potentially save the industry significantly, not just in terms of reducing the number of rejected shipments but also in terms of the administrative burden of current approaches.

AMPC Program Manager Ann McDonald says the project has a good chance of success.

“Already the US has accepted barcodes on pallets, which is a great step forward for consignments which carry only one product type, but it doesn’t work for mixed consignments because the single barcode on the pallet can’t accommodate that.

“What we’re looking at now is recognising the label barcode that is already included on the carton labels that come out of the processing facility as a shipping mark, instead of having to manually add a shipping mark sticker or stamp to every carton.”

AMPC is currently assessing how barcodes can be connected to government health certificates. For now, Meat Messaging will provide the connection, but Ann says over time the goal is for the barcode to link directly to the certificate for a highly streamlined process that will be much less prone to some of the challenges of current shipping marks.

“Meat Messenger is used for 80% of exports into the US and that has solved a lot of the problems around shipping labels that peel off, blur, get covered over or are missing, putting consignments at risk. Using the label barcode as the shipping mark is the next step forward. It will remove a manual task from the process of preparing for shipment and it will also make it much easier to check and verify consignments at the destination.”

The project includes seven processors and is due for completion at the end of next year.

For more information, contact Ann McDonald at