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Barcodes Hit Milestone

Monday marks the 30th anniversary of the barcode. Barcodes are the symbols that appear on goods in 155 countries that help clerks speed customer purchases, and help companies keep track of inventory.

Barcodes are a series of lines and numbers that machine scanners can read and identify exactly what product is being sold and how much it costs.

More than 100 nations have groups that issue unique barcodes to one million companies around the world. And scanners read those barcodes about 10 billion times each day.

The non-profit group that issues barcodes in the United States says the first barcoded item scanned and sold was a package of chewing gum, which is now in a museum.