Monday, July 07, 2008

Let The Chips Fall

Here is a classification decision of another sort.

In the UK, most food items are exempt from the value added tax. However, there is an exception for what Americans would call "potato chips." Recently, the UK tax court had to decide whether Pringles, those tube-packed stacks of potato-ie goodness, are actually potato chips for purposes of the tax exemption.

Procter & Gamble, the maker of Pringles, argues that Pringles are actually made from a baked dough rather than a fried slice of potato. Further, Pringles do not shatter when eaten like a chip but melt in your mouth. This last bit strikes me as odd since in my experience Pringles shatter quite nicely when chewed and also seem to spontaneously shatter in the bottom of the can.

Here is an article from Bloomberg on the controversy.

Thanks to numerous readers for the tip.


matt said...

Even more confusing in a country that calls french fries "chips". Pringles should be classified in the basket category for "barely edible high sodium facsimiles of food products."

Nick said...

Reminds me of the case of Toy Biz v US where they had to decide if "mutant" action figure toys were humans or not for classification purposes under HTS. You just can't make this stuff up!

Interesting blog by the way.