Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Return of Mellorine

The Federal Circuit has affirmed the Court of International Trade decision in Arko Foods Int'l regarding the proper tariff classification of mellorine. As you may recall from this post, mellorine is a dessert product similar to ice cream but made with animal or vegetable fat rather than all or some of the butterfat. Customs and Border Protection classified the mellorine in HTSUS item 2105.00.40 as a dairy product. The importer, seeking to avoid the application of import quotas, argued initially for classification as fruits and nuts (0811) or other edible preparations (2106). The CIT rejected those arguments and addressed where in Heading 2105 the product falls. Eventually, the CIT agreed with the importer that because milk is not the chief or essential ingredient, it does not the preponderant ingredient. That made the mellorine classifiable as 2105.00.50. The United States appealed.

The Federal Circuit decision affirmed the CIT. The government's main argument appears to have been that mellorine is a milk product for purposes of Additional Note 1 to Chapter 4 because the industry treats it as such. Following its down comforter jurisprudence from a called Pillowtex, the Federal Circuit held that the question before it was whether the mellorine has the essential character of milk. As a result, the Court recognized the need for a factual analysis based on "the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods." Based on the CIT's analysis, the Federal Circuit held that milk does not provide the essential character to mellorine. Thus, the correct classification is 2105.00.50, I guess. I say I guess because the Court's decision says 9404.90.90, which is the provision for the comforters from Pillowtex. As Homer would say, D'Oh!



Speaking of mellorine, I am now the owner of an ice cream machine and have been working may way through lots of test runs. So far, my favorites have been rum raisin, white chocolate, and roasted banana. All of which come from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. My advice to would be Ben's and Gerry's: more fat is better than less fat and egg yolks are awesome. This weekend, I plan to try a batch of green tea. This is a dangerous selection because I am the only person in my house who likes green tea ice cream. Branching out from Lebovitz's book, I have found a recipe for margarita sorbet. Sadly lacking from Lebovitz book is a recipe for mellorine. So, if anyone has a recipe they like, feel free to send it on. I will make a batch in the name of legal research.

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