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NY M81478

April 11, 2006

CLA-2-04:RR:NC:SP:231 M81478


TARIFF NO.: 0406.90.5700

Mr. Jose L. Quintana
Quintana Hermanos Inc.
P.O. Box 364706
San Juan, PR 00936-4706

RE: The tariff classification of sheep’s-milk cheese from Spain.

Dear Mr. Quintana:

In your letter dated March 16, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Samples and literature representing certain cheeses were submitted for our review.

The first item is identified as “El Pastor de Santa Cristina” brand of D.O. Zamorano cheese. The submitted sample of this cheese, packed in clear plastic, is in the form of a 3-kg wheel measuring about 7½” in diameter by 4” in height. (The product will also be supplied in 1.2-kg wheels.) The rind has a brownish color and shows basket marks. The off-white interior has a semi-hard, dry (non-plastic) texture, and exhibits scattered mechanical openings. This cheese is offered in both a “cured” version, which has been ripened for a period of 4 to 6 months, and an “aged” version, which has been ripened for a period of 12 to 15 months. In both versions, the ingredients are non-pasteurized (raw) sheep’s milk, cheese culture, enzymes and salt. Both versions contain 45% fat in the dry matter and 42% moisture.

The second item is identified as “El Pastor de la Polvorosa” brand of Zamoran cheese. One of the submitted samples of this type is a 1.2-kg wheel measuring about 5” in diameter by 3¼” in height. Another is a 550-gram wheel measuring about 3½” in diameter by 2¼” in height. (The product will also be supplied in 2.8-kg and 3-kg wheels.) In exterior and interior appearance and texture, these samples are very similar to the cheese described above. This cheese is offered in an “aged” version (ripened 12 to 15 months), a “cured” version” (ripened 4 to 6 months), and a “baby” version (ripened 45 days). The ingredients of all versions are sheep’s milk, cheese culture, enzymes and salt. All versions contain 45% fat in the dry material and 42-43% moisture.

The applicable subheading for all of the above-described cheeses will be 0406.90.5700, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for cheese and curd: other cheese cheeses made from sheep’s milk: pecorino, in original loaves, not suitable for grating. The rate of duty will be Free.

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 World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

We note that your letter and the accompanying literature appear to contradict the ingredient information printed on the labels affixed to the submitted samples of the “El Pastor de la Polvorosa” cheese. Your letter indicates that the “aged” and “cured” versions of this brand are made from pasteurized sheep’s milk, while the labels state that raw (non-pasteurized) sheep’s milk is used. Also, the literature indicates that the “baby” version is made from raw sheep’s milk, while the label states that it is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk. Please be aware that cheese made from raw (non-pasteurized) milk, ripened or cured for a period of less than 60 days, may be subject to restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For additional information, you may contact that agency at the following address:

Division of Import Operations and Policy, HFC-170 5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857

Telephone: (301) 443-6553
FAX: (301) 594-0413

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 www.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 Thomas Brady at 646-733-3030.


Robert B. Swierupski

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