Friday, March 11, 2016

Ruling of the Week 2016.8: Silence of the Borg

By my calculation, this is week 10 of 2016 and this is ROTW 8, I am getting close.

Today's ruling might make the squeamish among you go "Eww," but it shouldn't. The product in question is a three-dimensional reconstructed human epidermis. When I read that, I pictured a fully human-shaped skin ready for taxidermy or some more nefarious use. The reality is far more mundane and much more scientifically cool.

The ruling is NY N270364 (February 19, 2016). The product turns out to be an "in vitro " epidermis grown from human skin and other cells cultured on a polycarbonate substrate. Here is the technical lowdown on it. The commercial purpose of this is not to build Buffalo Bill-style human skin suits or to give Mr. Data goosebumps. The idea is to have an in vitro model for testing drugs, cosmetics, etc.

Star Trek: First Contact
According to Customs, this item is classified as "Human blood . . . vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excluding yeasts) and similar products" in HTSUS item 3002.90.5150, which is duty free.

Customs and Border Protection noted that this product may be subject to regulations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which should make us all happy.

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