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NY 892064

November 5, 1993



TARIFF NO.: 1602.50.6000

Mr. Paul Langs
Qualico Foods, Inc.
21 Brockley Drive
Stoney Creek, Ontario L8E 3C3

RE: The tariff classification of frozen boneless ground BEEF, with 1 percent salt and 2 percent Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein from Canada.

Dear Mr. Langs:

In your letter dated September 7, 1993, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The product in question will be prepared from frozen boneless beef imported into Canada from Australia, New Zealand and other source countries.

When processed in Canada, a number of 50 to 60 pound cartons of frozen boneless beef will be removed from storage at -5 degrees Fahrenheit and placed in a tempering room at 35 degrees Fahrenheit overnight (about 8 hours). After tempering, the frozen blocks, at 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, will be fed into a frozen block grinder. The block grinder will process up to 3 blocks a minute, and will grind the frozen meat into pieces approximately one inch in diameter and up to 3 or 4 inches in length. You state, further, that, as the blocks are frozen and tend to shatter as they are cut in the grinder, 95 percent of the resulting pieces are one inch or less at their thickest dimension. These ground pieces will be discharged from the grinder onto a food grade vinyl conveyor belt which will convey them to a mixer/blender, where they will be mixed with additional ingredients.

This boneless beef is composed of many small cuts and trimmings, thrown into a box and randomly frozen. As it is forcefully separated while frozen, it fractures along the fat or connecting tissue surfaces found between muscles.

To each batch of meat in the blender, 1 percent by weight of salt and 2 percent Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein will be spread over the product while blending. When all the seasonings have disap- peared into the meat, the blender will be run for an additional five minutes to insure consistency.

After processing, the meat will be discharged into poly-lined cartons of about 60 pounds, net, or into combo bins holding approximately 2,000 pounds, net, as required, and placed back in the freezer. After importation, you state that this product will be used for further processing in the manufacture of items such as meat balls, patties, nuggets and sausage.

The classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated, is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation. The first General Rule requires that the classification of goods be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the Harmonized Tariff by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and the General Rules.

The "General" notes to Chapter 16 in the Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Tariff describe various products within the scope of this chapter:

"This Chapter covers prepared foodstuffs obtained by processing meat, meat offal, (e.g., feet, skins, hearts, tongues, livers, guts, stomachs), blood, fish (including skins thereof), crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates. The Chapter covers such products which have been prepared or preserved by processes not provided for in Chapter 2 or 3, for example, products which have been:


(3) Prepared or preserved in the form of extracts, juices or marinades, prepared from fish eggs as caviar or caviar substitutes, merely covered with batter or bread crumbs, truffled, seasoned (e.g., with both pepper and salt), etc." Bold-face supplied for emphasis.

In our opinion, the addition and blending of one percent, by weight, of salt and two percent, by weight, of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein with the ground beef pieces, as described, constitutes a processing of this frozen beef beyond the levels permitted by the headings of chapter 2 in that it creates a "seasoned" product, as enumerated in the "General" notes, cited above. Accordingly, this seasoned beef is properly classifiable as a product of chapter 16. The applicable subheading for this boneless and ground frozen BEEF, with one percent salt and two percent Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, will be 1602.50.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Other prepared or pre-served meat, meat offal or blood:...Of bovine animals:...Other:... Not containing cereals or vegetables:... Other:...Other. The rate of duty will be 4 percent ad valorem.

Goods classifiable under subheading 1602.50.6000, HTS, which have originated in the territory of Canada, will be entitled to a FREE rate of duty under the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) upon compliance with all applicable regulations. Eligibility for preferential duty treatment under the United States-Canada FTA, in cases where goods classified in Chapter 16 contain non-originating materials, is conferred by a change from one chapter to another [General Note 3(c)(vii)(R)(4)(aa), General Notes to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, Annotated]. In the instant case, non-qualifying frozen, boneless beef, a product of Chapter 2 when imported into Canada and, there, processed into seasoned beef of Chapter 16, has undergone a change in classification from one chapter to another and would be considered qualifying goods.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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