USDA May Lift 44-Year-Old Ban on Haggis

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Come January 2017, Americans might have a Rabbie Burns Day miracle to look forward to. After a meeting with representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), British Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead told BBC News that the two agencies have recently been working "to pave the way for the return of Scotch lamb and haggis onto U.S. plates" in the next couple of years.

In the U.S., it's been almost impossible to enjoy authentic haggis, the national dish of Scotland, ever since the USDA ruled in 1971 [PDF] that the lungs of livestock—a key ingredient in traditional haggis—"shall not be saved for use as human food." Access to Scottish lambs was further narrowed after the U.S. placed a ban on all livestock imports from the U.K. in response to outbreaks of mad cow disease. To get their hands on real Scottish haggis for their Burns night tables, then, U.S.-based fans of the dish have been known to resort to smuggling it or its illegal ingredients in from Canada, the U.K., and other more lenient locations.

Thanks to the cooperation of the USDA and British agencies, however, the food that the famously poetic Burns called a "[great] chieftain o' the pudding-race" might cease to be contraband in the States within the next 24 months. National Farmers Union Scotland vice-president Rob Livesey told the press that the past few days' worth of talks "should speed the entry of Scottish beef and lamb onto the U.S. market" in general, while butcher James Macsween described the removal of the ban as "a massive opportunity for us and the industry."

Secretary Lochhead pointed out, too, that the "around 10 million U.S. citizens [claiming] Scottish heritage" pretty much guarantee "a ready-made market [here] and with Scots at heart." In the meantime, Scots in America, Scottish Americans, and anyone desperate to get a forkful of authentic haggis likely all have the same message for the USDA: heid doon arse up!

[h/t BBC News]