Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Death of a Lobster

One of the reasons customs law is an interesting practice is that you get to learn about a lot of different products. Sometimes, you learn about things you'd rather not.

For example, Customs ruled, NY R00821 (Oct. 19, 2004), on the classification and country of origin of frozen raw lobster meat from Canada. Here is how Customs describes the process:
  • They are put into a machine that kills them, using hydraulic pressure to release the meat from the shell.
  • The dead lobsters are separated into different parts, --i.e., separated into knuckles, claws, tails and bodies,--each of which is processed separately.
  • The raw meat is removed from the leg by using rollers, from the knuckles using compressed air, from the claw by opening with a knife, and from the tail by scoring the shell with a blade and then pulling the meat out.
  • After removal, the knuckle and claw meat is mixed together, weighed and put through a vacuum packaging machine. The leg meat is weighed and similarly vacuum packaged. Each tail is vacuum packed separately.
  • After packaging, the lobster meat is quick frozen, then packed for export to the United States. The shells are discarded.

Yummy.

In case you are wondering, the classification is 0306.12.0030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Crustaceans, whether in shell or not, live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or in brine;...frozen, lobsters (Homarus spp.), in airtight containers, other. The rate of duty is Free. In this case, the American and Canadian lobster meat was mixed together, so the appropriate marking was "Product of the United States and Canada." And, remember, the NAFTA marking rules apply.

Read all about it here.

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