Roche Vitamins, Inc. v. United States, No. 13-1568 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Roche imported BetaTab, a mixture containing beta-carotene, antioxidants, gelatin, sucrose, and corn starch that can be used as a source of Vitamin A in foods, beverages, and vitamin products. Beta-carotene crystalline makes up 20 percent of the mixture and is an organic colorant with provitamin A activity. Whether used as a colorant or provitamin A, beta-carotene must first be combined with other ingredients. Customs classified BetaTab under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading 2106.90.97 as “[f]ood preparations not elsewhere specified or included” and denied a protest. In the Court of International Trade,Roche argued that BetaTab was classifiable either as a “coloring matter” under HTSUS subheading 3204.19.35, and eligible for duty-free entry pursuant to the Pharmaceutical Appendix, or, alternatively, as a provitamin under HTSUS heading 2936. The Court ruled in favor of the company, reclassifying the product under HTSUS 2936. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Roche’s manufacturing process did not change BetaTab’s functionality as a provitamin or change the character of beta-carotene as a source of provitamin A. Addition of the stabilizing ingredients did not exclude the merchandise from classification under heading 2936.