The US-based haggis maker that gets around the import ban

With traditional haggis prohibited in the United States, how does one manufacturer get around the controversial ban?

With traditional haggis prohibited in the United States, how does one manufacturer get around the controversial ban?

According to the United States' Census Bureau, there are just over 5,700,000 Americans who have Scottish ancestry.

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However, with Burns Night looming, not one of them will be enjoying a traditional Scottish haggis with their neeps and tatties.

This is because of a contentious 46 year-old law put in place by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which prevents the sale of sheep's lung - one of the key ingredients of haggis.

One producer, however, continues to deliver their unique take on the Scottish delicacy.

Two subtle differences

McKean's of Glasgow took their haggis making operation across the Atlantic Ocean to Bangor, Maine in 2004.

For nearly 14 years they have thrilled customers with their authentic tasting take on the Scottish national dish.

Today Mckean's proudly proclaim their Maine factory as "the home of Scottish haggis in the US".

While the manufacturers combine, Scottish cereals and American lamb, their are two subtle, but important, differences between traditional haggis and their American brand.

"It is with two exceptions, the USDA does not allow sheep lungs to be used in manufacture and all haggis made in the US except our haggis links is in an artificial casing. "

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The reason for the ban is down to the fear that phlegm and stomach acid may contaminate the organ during slaughter.

Though Burns Night purists will scoff at the absence of lamb lung and stomach lining, McKean's insist that lamb hearts and liver are most deifnitely present in their recipe. Furthermore, the haggis producing company insist that beef never features in their take on the dish.

The company have also declared interest in working more closely with sheep's innards and favourite Scottish dishes, stating on their website: "We would dearly love to make black pudding but so far have been unable to source dried blood in the US."

Cooks and tastes the same

Despite the difference in ingredients, McKean's insists that their haggis' cooking time is the same as traditional sheep stomach wrapped haggis and assure of the product's quality.

The Scottish-American company also provides customers with a rhyme in the style of Robert Burns to assist them when cooking the dish in memory of the poet.

The Haggis is a funny Beast

To make it, strong men toil

But in cooking, it is delicate

NEVER should it boil.

While their haggis is lacking in the offal department, they certainly make up for it with their passion for the poet.

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