July 20, 2014

The U.S. could lift the ban on haggis

Haggis is a traditional Scottish food.In a move to end a ban that has been in effect for over 30 years, Scotland has been urging White House aides to allow haggis back within U.S. borders, according to The Guardian. Since 1971 the United States has implemented a ban on sheep’s lung, a key ingredient in haggis. British lamb has been banned since 1989 due to an outbreak of mad cow disease. Eliminating the ban could be tremendously beneficial for Scottish producers, as the country’s culture has a large presence in the U.S. Currently, several Scottish restaurants in metropolitan hubs offer faux haggis in the states, but without authentic ingredients these providers are forced to ignore traditional recipes. Allowing haggis back into the country could make the dish one of the next big staples of foodie culture, a new challenge for those in culinary arts programs and established chefs alike.

What is haggis?
Haggis is a plump, spherical sausage, made from sheeps’ lungs, liver and heart, along with onions and oats, which is then sewn into a sheep’s stomach. The stomach is then boiled. This is a traditional Scottish meal that is often accompanied by potatoes. Haggis is typically seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and other herbs as desired.

Why eliminate the ban now?
Encouraging an increase in the importation of Scottish products has the potential to be a huge stimulant for the economy of rural Scotland. Haggis is often served with Scotch whiskey, perhaps boosting sales in that market as well. Scottish officials appear to be focused on broadening overall interest in the country’s food and drink exports  among young, innovative American chefs.

“As for haggis, all I can say is, the Americans don’t know what they’re missing,” expressed the Scottish secretary, Alistair Carmichael, in an interview with The Guardian.

Scotland is well known for producing some of the world’s best lamb, and as the demand for high-quality food continues to be a focus in the United States, authentic haggis could find a wide audience. The American specialty food market has an estimated worth of $85 billion each year, and Scotland is looking to enlarge the country’s share. The U.S. recently released the ban on beef from the UK, so lamb is the next logical step for Scottish meat producers. Nothing currently offered in the U.S. compares with authentic haggis from the motherland.