Haggis Hopes: UK Urges US To End 43-Year Ban
A US ban on Scottish haggis could be overturned if Britain can persuade aides to Barack Obama that British meat is safe to eat.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is to lobby US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today to bring an end to the ban and open up a market that could be worth millions of pounds to Scottish producers.
It has been forbidden to import the savoury pudding into the US since 1971 following an embargo on food containing sheep lung, which makes up part of the traditional recipe.
The mad cow disease crisis in Britain in 1989 complicated matters when it became forbidden to import any UK beef and lamb products.
Mr Paterson hopes the ban can be lifted as part of European Union-US trade deal negotiations which could be worth £10bn to the British economy overall.
He will be hoping to build on his success of overturning a ban on UK beef exports to the US earlier this year.
Speaking at the Royal Highland Show last week, 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."
James Macsween, director of haggis maker Macsween of Edinburgh, said: "The opportunities for exporting our haggis into the American market are very exciting and I am delighted to hear progress is being made in this respect.
"With the huge popularity in the US of all things Scottish, hopefully these negotiations will allow American consumers the chance to finally taste authentic, high-quality Macsween haggis very soon."