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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #18-0018

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: BCB International Ltd

Individual Name: Paul Ames

Location State: CF3 2EX Country: GB

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 11, 2018

Paul Ames
BCB International Ltd
Lamby Industrial Park
Wentloog Avenue
Cardiff CF3 2EX
United Kingdom

Reference No. 18-0018

Dear Mr. Ames:

This letter is in response to your February 7, 2018, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the classification of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) packaged with the heating source for operational rations.  In your letter and subsequent phone call, you describe and provide safety data sheets (SDS) for an ethyl alcohol fuel source, classified as a Division 4.1 flammable solid in Packing Group (PG) III.  You explain the fuel blocks are individually packaged in two individually sealed capsules containing 1 ounce or less of fuel, which are further contained in a sealed pouch with other non hazardous materials.  You include a picture of this configuration in an image showing a pouch titled “Cold Weather Meal.”  Specifically, you ask whether these MREs are subject to the HMR as a hazardous material.

PHMSA regulates the transportation in commerce of hazardous materials in an “amount and form [that] may pose an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property” in accordance with 49 U.S.C 5103, as delegated to PHMSA in 49 CFR §§ 1.96(b) and 1.97(b).  As described in your letter, the fuel blocks meet the definition of a PG III flammable solid hazard and, therefore, meet the definition of a hazardous material subject to the HMR.  However, based on the information provided in your letter, your product may meet the excepted quantities provisions of § 173.4 and/or the exceptions for Class 4 materials in § 173.151, but not the de minimis exception in § 173.4b.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Standards and Rulemaking Division

1.96(b), 1.97(b), 173.4, 173.151, 173.4b

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.151 Exceptions for Class 4
173.4 Small quantities for highway and rail