Scottish Haggis ban in US asked to be lifted
Britain has urged the United States of America to lift the decades-old import ban on Scottish Haggis.
Environment secretary Owen Paterson will ask his US counterpart Tom Vilsack to open up markets for Scottish Haggis producers during a meeting in Washington today.
The move follows after the Scottish tradesmen asked Mr Paterson to raise this issue when he visited the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh earlier this month.
Prior to his US visit Mr Paterson said: “I share many haggis producers’ disappointment that American diners are currently unable to enjoy the taste of Scotland’s wonderful national dish in their own country. I am meeting my US counterpart today to discuss how we can begin exporting it, particularly as so many Americans enjoy celebrating their Scottish heritage. This government has opened many markets for our home-grown food and drink businesses. I will continue to do everything I can to boost exports of everything from whisky to haggis to support Scotland’s farmers and rural economy.”
The savoury pudding has been banned in the US since 1971, followed by a ban on all British lamb in 1981 after the BSE crisis.
During his visit, Mr Paterson will also ask Obama administration to allow trade for Scottish lamb as part of EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Haggis market is already worth approximately £15m in the UK and has a good potential to grow in the US believes the government.
Commenting on Mr Paterson’s visit to the US, Scottish Food Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “With almost nine million Americans claiming Scots ancestry, there is clearly an appetite in the US for haggis made to traditional recipes. The US has long been a top priority market for the Scottish food and drink sector.”
The traditional Scottish dish is made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock. It was conventionally sheathed in the animal’s stomach and simmered for three to four hours but now usually is prepared in a sausage casing rather than the actual stomach.
In Scotland Haggis is served with Scotch whisky as part of the Burns supper celebrated in commemoration of the poet Robert Burns.