The present invention provides for a bar code location and recognition processing system. The surface on which the bar code appears is optically scanned and converted to binary digital signals by a digital video processor. The output of the digital video processor is provided to a bar code image processor for location and reading of the bar code. The bar code is located by summing the "black" pixels in segments of predetermined width for each horizontal scan line, and determining the location of the "L" pattern characteristic of a digitized image of a bar code summed in this manner. Reading of the binary data corresponding to the bar code is carried out by summing the "black" pixels in each vertical scan line in a rectangular region generally corresponding to the location of the bar code within the digitized image, selecting a threshold value proportional to the average maxima of these sums, and, by determining which sums substantially exceed and which substantially fall below the threshold values, decode a binary code pattern corresponding to the bar code.