Scotland mulls U.S. pressure over haggis ban

LONDON Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:00pm EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland is considering lobbying the United States to lift a ban on haggis, hoping to boost sales of the sheep-stomach-based national dish.

The U.S. banned imports of Scottish haggis after Britain's outbreak of mad cow disease, which is linked to the human brain illness Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Scotland's government insist its haggis -- which usually contains the heart, liver and lungs wrapped inside a sheep's stomach lining -- is safe and wants the ban lifted.

"The Scottish government will consider engaging the U.S. government on its haggis import ban ... It is safe or we wouldn't eat it here," said a spokeswoman. "We think there is a large market for it amongst expatriate Scots there."

She cited growing sales of tartans and the prevalence of Scottish clubs as evidence that Americans were taking greater interest in their Scottish heritage.

Haggis, a globally recognized symbol of Scotland alongside bagpipes, kilts and Scotch whisky, is an essential part of Burns night celebrations, which commemorate national poet Robert Burns and fall on January 25.

Burns was the author of "Ode to a Haggis".

(Reporting by Peter Apps; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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