Obviously not the US customs, or more specifically the US Department of Agriculture.
Haggis may be the “great chieftain o’ the puddin-race” but watch out for the “most wanted” posters hanging around your local American airport, public health enemy Number One.
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister (almost like the UK Prime Minister only not quite) is to appeal to the President of the land of the free to release the poor haggis from its 19 year incarceration (no charges have ever been proved against the poor creature).
Bush famously refused to eat haggis when visiting Scotland for the G8 summit in 2005, sparking mass protests across the fields (which had the unfortunate effect of scaring a passing haggis, perhaps the one that jumped off George’s plate?). He said he had been fully briefed on the subject. The US government has banned haggis since 1989, saying it poses a risk of BSE.
It means that Scottish societies in the US must settle for “inferior versions” of the dish (so said a haggis fan in Scotland; I’m sure it’s probably not really true), or rely on smugglers who risk a £500 fine to bring the genuine article 3,000 miles across the Atlantic or over the border from Canada. Watch out for those sniffer dogs!
Britain’s independent Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also given haggis a clean bill of health. ”We see no reason at all why people cannot eat haggis safely. I have no idea why the US chooses to say otherwise. We have the strictest BSE controls in the world in place” said an FSA spokesman.
Scottish government guidelines say haggis is nutritionally sound enough to serve once a week for school lunches (perhaps that is why so many Scots have ginger hair, or maybe that’s the Irn Bru?).
Macsween, which produces about 500 tons of haggis a year (that’s a lot of haggis), says “that once Americans try a good quality haggis, they can’t get enough of it. When they ask how they can get more I tell them to have words with their president,” said Jo Macsween.
Stand up for haggis (especially when the bagpipes are playing and you have a whisky in your hand), release the wee thing and let it take its rightful place with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) on American dinner plates.
Or it might be easier just to jump on a plane and come here? Dare you try a haggis? Have you? What did you think?
You could try haggis pakora in one of Glasow’s excellent Indian restaurants, deep fried haggis from one our fish & chip shops, haggis lasagne, haggis on toast, Tex Mac with haggis nachos (I think you’re getting the idea), or even vegetarian haggis with warm butter, bean & spinach salad (yes, it’s true, those are the ones that only eat heather, and very nice they are too).
Just for the record, I don’t believe that any American visitors have been refused entry back into the US with haggis in their tummy.
Bon voyage. Haggis away!