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UK lobbying US to end ban on importing haggis

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Scottish haggis that has been sliced open. (iStock)

The British government has dispatched its Environment Secretary to Washington to try and convince the Obama administration to lift a 43-year-old ban on importing haggis.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson was due to meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in an effort to show that British meat is safe to consume.

Haggis, the Scottish delicacy consisting of a sheep's heart, lungs, and liver simmered with onion, oatmeal, suet, and spices in a sausage casing -- or sheep's stomach for the traditionalists -- was embargoed by the U.S. in 1971 as part of a blanket ban on foods containing sheep's lung. In 1989, an outbreak of mad cow disease in the U.K. meant that the import ban was extended to all beef and lamb products. 

Sky News reports that Paterson is hoping that the U.S. can lift its ban as part of negotiations toward a trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union that could be worth $17 billion to the British economy. 

"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," Paterson said recently. ""I am meeting my U.S. counterpart today to discuss how we can begin exporting it, particularly as so many Americans enjoy celebrating their Scottish heritage.

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