CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086284 KWM

TARIFF: 3917.10.5000

Mr. Lewis Stein
General Counsel
Johnson & Johnson
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08922-7002

RE: Collagen sausage casings

Dear Mr. Stein:

This is in response to your letter dated November 14, 1989, requesting reconsideration of the tariff classification of collagen sausage casings in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085411. Your letter has been forwarded to us by our New York office for a ruling. We have also received your facsimile dated March 12, 1990, providing additional information about the merchandise at issue.


A full description of the goods is set out in HRL 085411, and will not be repeated here. Your most recent request provides this office with additional information regarding the process by which sausage casings are manufactured. Specifically, you have asserted that glutaraldehyde is used as a hardening agent during the production of some sausage casings imported by you. We note that this information was not included in your original request for a tariff classification. Your reconsideration request is premised on the belief that the use of glutaraldehyde brings those goods so processed within the purview of subheading 3917.10.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and they should therefore be classified as artificial guts (sausage casings) of hardened protein or of cellulosic plastic material, other.


1) Should the goods at issue in HRL 085411 be classified under subheading 3917.10.5000, HTSUSA?

2) If not, what effect does the additional information regarding glutaraldehyde have on the classification of sausage casings treated with glutaraldehyde? LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Revocation of HRL 085411

Your original request for a binding classification ruling included a request letter and a generic flowchart, outlining the basic procedural steps in the production of collagen sausage casings. Based on the information provided in that submission, we classified the collagen sausage casings at issue in HRL 085411 in subheading 3504.00.5000, HTSUSA. After reviewing the findings of HRL 085411, we are of the opinion that that ruling is correct on the basis of the facts presented and we decline to revoke it.

As HRL 085411 indicates, consideration was given to classification of these items in heading 3917, HTSUSA, as you have suggested. However, as further explained in HRL 085411, the Explanatory Notes to heading 0504 indicate that heading 3917, HTSUSA, includes "products of 'artificial guts' made by extrusion of a paste of hide or skin fiber, subsequently hardened with a solution of formaldehyde or phenols" (emphasis added). Your original request did not indicate that formaldehyde or phenols were used during the manufacture of the sausage casings at issue. Further, your original request did not include any references to glutaraldehyde, particularly as to its use as a hardening agent. Lastly we note that these substances were not detected under laboratory analysis. In short, our classifiction was correct based on the facts presented by you. We are therefore of the opinion that it should not be revoked.

Per your most recent submission (fax dated March 12, 1990), we are of the opinion that the goods described by you as:

Undyed casings which are not glutaraldehyde treated which are generally used with fresh sausages.

are those described and classified in HRL 085411, under heading 3504.00.5000, HTSUSA. That ruling is limited to those goods.

Sausage casings treated with glutaraldehyde

Although we decline to revoke or modify HRL 085411, we further believe, on the basis of your most recent submission that the sausage casings treated with glutaraldehyde as a hardening agent are properly classifiable in heading 3917, HTSUSA. It is our opinion that glutaraldehyde, a chemical compound used as a fixative for tissues, for crosslinking protein and polyhydroxy materials, and for tanning of soft leathers, is a hardening substance within the intended scope of heading 3917, HTSUSA.

We note that when glutaraldehyde is used as a hardening agent, its presence cannot be detected in the finished product. Therefore, we are unable to verify your submission by laboratory analysis. We are basing our classification of this merchandise solely on the information provided by you, as required by federal regulation.

We hold that the goods described by you as:

[M]ahogany dyed casings which are hardened with glutaraldehyde and which are generally used in meat snacks

are properly classified in heading 3917, HTSUSA. This is not a modification of HRL 085411. This is, in effect, a new binding ruling strictly limited to those sausage casings hardened with glutaraldehyde.

At the time of importation, you should clearly make known whether the sausage casings imported in the subject transaction are those hardened with glutaraldehyde, or those not so hardened. The appropriate ruling letter should be included.


The specific goods at issue in HRL 085411 remain classified according to that holding: edible collagen sausage casings, undyed and not treated with glutaraldehyde, are provided for in subheading 3504.00.5000, HTSUSA, as other protein substances and their derivatives, not elsewhere specified or included, hide powder, other. The rate of duty on those goods remains 7.9 percent ad valorem.

Those collagen sausage casings treated with glutaraldehyde are classified in subheading 3917.10.5000, HTSUSA, as tubes of artificial guts (sausage casings) or hardened protein or of cellulosic plastics materials, other. The rate of duty on these goods is 4.2 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division