CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 085411 SER

Mr. Lewis Stein
Johnson & Johnson
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, N.J. 08933-7002

RE: Sausage Casings

Dear Mr. Stein:

This is in reference to your letter of June 23, 1989, requesting a tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of sausage casings manufactured by Devro Inc.


The merchandise at issue is sausage casings made from collagen. Collagen is a fibrous type of protein, common to all connective tissue, hides (skin), organs and similar structures in the animal body. Beef cattle hides are the source of the collagen used to make the Devro sausage casings. The central corium layers of the hide are washed and blended to achieve a mix which is suitable for machining on stuffing and linking equipment. Food grade ingredients are added to improve the finished casing performance and to create a bond between meat emulsions and the casings. The collagen gel is homogenized to increase casing size uniformity, and to produce a more uniform diameter and wall thickness. The collagen gel is extruded into a continuous tubular form, which is washed and treated to make the casing more pliable. The casing goes through a drying process. It is then shirred or pleated to fit on a standard stuffing horn.


What is the classification of the sausage casings under the HTSUSA?


Classification of the goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. The Harmonized System is a complete product classification system, and the goal of the Harmonized System is to place all goods that -2-

are imported into the specific classifications. In this context the word "goods" is used in its broadest sense to include all merchandise. The systematic detail is such that virtually all goods are classifiable by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes.

Subheading 3504.00.5000, HTSUSA, provides for protein substances and their derivatives, not elsewhere specified or included; hide powder: other. The merchandise at issue is a protein substance and thus it appears to fit within this classification, but first it must be determined whether the casings can be classified under a more specific classification. There are several possible competing headings in relation to this product.

One possible heading is 0504, HTSUSA, which provides for guts, bladders and stomachs. Many sausage casings products fit into this heading, thus, it is a good initial heading to review for classification of any sausage casing product. The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, to heading 0504, HTSUSA, discuss the type of products which are to be included within this classification heading. The products are limited to those which are made solely from the internal organs of animals, which would preclude the merchandise at issue. The Explanatory Notes to this heading lead to heading 3917, HTSUSA, which states that "products of 'artificial guts' made by extrusion of a paste of hide or skin fiber, subsequently hardened with a solution of formaldehyde or phenols, are to be found in heading 3917, HTSUSA". It would appear that the merchandise at issue would fall within this subheading, for it is made by extrusion of a paste of hide or skin fiber, but, the merchandise at issue is not a hardened product, nor is it treated in any manner with a solution of formaldehyde or phenols. Thus, the product at issue can not be classified within this heading.

Since the product at issue is not covered by a more specific heading in the Nomenclature, it would appear to be classifiable in heading 3504, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes to heading 3504, HTSUSA, further support classification of the sausage casings at issue under this heading, for they are similar to the hide powders discussed therein. The hide powder is stated to be virtually pure collagen and is obtained from animal hides (skins). The product at issue is also made from collagen and from animal hides (skins). It is Custom's opinion, therefore, that the product at issue is classifiable under heading 3504, HTSUSA.



The merchandise at issue is properly classified under subheading 3504.00.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for other protein substances and their derivatives, not elsewhere specified or included; hide powder: other. The rate of duty is 7.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division