Mr. Maxim Lester
Bens Cookies NY Inc.
30-38 30th Street, #4R
Astoria, NY 11102
RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of frozen cookie doughs from the United Kingdom
Dear Mr. Lester:
In your letter dated January 29, 2016, you requested a tariff classification and country of origin marking ruling.
Dough specification sheets and proposed labeling accompanied your inquiry.
Plain Chocolate Dough, Cranberry and White Chocolate Dough, and Ginger Dough are frozen, uncooked, pre-mixed cookie doughs without fillings, packed for food service use in plastic bags holding approximately 6.4 kilograms, 5.9 kilograms, and 6.5 kilograms placed in 14” x 14” x 6” cardboard master cartons. Each cookie dough contains approximately 33 to 31 percent plain wheat flour, 19 to 22 percent light brown cane sugar, 10 to 12 percent unsalted butter, 9 to 11 percent eggs, 7 to 8 percent margarine, 0.92 to 1 percent baking powder, and less than one percent salt. Depending on the variety, the doughs also contain approximately 16 percent dark chocolate, 15 percent crystallized ginger and 2 percent ground ginger, 13 percent white chocolate, and 1 percent cranberries. After importation, the products will be baked by the importer at its facility, and then sold at retail to the public. The production process is described as follows. The frozen doughs will be defrosted, scooped out in approximately 90 gram portions, rolled into balls, and toppings added as required. Approximately 11 rolled balls of dough are then placed on a baking tray with greaseproof paper, baked at 570 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 minutes, then cooled.
Each proposed label presents similar information and only differs in the product’s name and the ingredient list. In the left column, from top to bottom, each label shows the name of the product, the statements “FROZEN, UNCOOKED & PREMIXED COOKIE DOUGH” and “FOR FOOD SERVICE USE ONLY.” Below that is the net weight, gross weight, stored temperature, manufacturer and exporter’s name and contact information, and the statement, “MADE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.” In the right column, from top to bottom, each label shows a list of ingredients, and, at the bottom, the disclaimer “CONTAINS NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURING, COLORS OR PRESERVATIVES” and “CONTAINS NO GENETICALLY MODIFIED INGREDIENTS,” and the operator, production date, and expiration date.
The applicable subheading for the two frozen cookie doughs, if imported in quantities that fall within the limits described in additional U.S. note 3 to chapter 19, will be 1901.20.6500, Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for food preparations of flour ... not containing cocoa or containing less than 40 percent by weight of cocoa calculated on a totally defatted basis, not elsewhere specified or included … mixes and doughs for the preparation of bakers’ wares of heading 1905 ... other … other … mixes and doughs described in additional U.S. note 1 to chapter 19 … described in additional U.S. note 3 to this chapter and entered pursuant to its provisions. The general rate of duty will be 10 percent ad valorem. If the quantitative limits of additional U.S. note 3 to chapter 19 have been reached, the doughs will be classified in subheading 1901.20.7000, HTSUS, and dutiable at the general rate of 42.3 cents per kilogram plus 8.5 percent ad valorem. In addition, products classified in subheading 1901.20.7000, HTSUS, will be subject to additional duties based on their value, as described in subheadings 9904.19.11 to 9904.19.18, HTSUS.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.
Part 134, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(d) defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. 19 C.F.R. 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See 19 C.F.R. 134.35.
As provided in section 134.41(b), CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.
In section 134.1(k), CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.1(k)), “Conspicuous” means capable of being easily seen with normal handling of the article or container.
With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.
In our opinion, the U.S. processing described has effected a substantial transformation. Since the frozen cookie doughs are substantially transformed in the United States, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.35(a), they are exempt from country of origin marking and only the outermost containers in which they are imported into the U.S. are required to be marked with the country of origin. In this case, only the cardboard master cartons are required to be marked with the country of origin. If the proposed labels are used for the cardboard master cartons, they are an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported frozen cookie doughs provided that the labels will remain on the cartons until they reach the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed.
This merchandise is subject to The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (The Bioterrorism Act), which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Information on the Bioterrorism Act can be obtained by calling FDA at 301-575-0156, or at the Web site ww.fda.gov/oc/bioterrorism/bioact.html.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Bruce N. Hadley, Jr. at [email protected]
Deborah C. Marinucci
National Commodity Specialist Division