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EAN-8 is a shortened version of the EAN-13 code. It includes a 2 or 3 digit country code, 4 of 5 data digits (depending on the length of the country code), and a checksum digit. While it is possible to add a 2-digit or 5-digit extension barcode, the primary purpose of the EAN-8 code is to use as little space as possible.

Unlike the UPC-E symbol, which compresses data that could also be printed as a full-size UPC-A symbol by squeezing out zeroes, the data digits in an EAN-8 symbol specifically identify a particular product and manufacturer.  Since a limited number of EAN-8 codes are available in each country, they are issued only for products with insufficient space for a normal EAN-13 symbol.   For example, a 2-digit country code permits a total of only 100,000 item numbers.



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