25 January 2010

The Great Chieftan o' the Puddin' Race!

The Guardian | Severin Carrell | US to lift 21-year ban on haggis: Burns' night boost for famous Scottish dish that fell victim to BSE fears

Smuggled and bootlegged, it has been the cause of transatlantic tensions for more than two decades. But after 21 years in exile, the haggis is to be allowed back into the United States.

The "great chieftan o' the puddin-race" was one of earliest casualties of the BSE crisis of the 1980s-90s, banned on health grounds by the US authorities in 1989 because they feared its main ingredient ‑ minced sheep offal ‑ could prove lethal.
A toast to the immortal Haggis!

What great news for Burns Night.

Haggis is delightful. It's not entirely unlike a highly-seasoned, more delicate version of corned beef hash, which most people don't seem to have a problem with. And the ingredients of your average sausage are just as unsavory as those for haggis, so I'm not sure what all the fuss is about.

I join Angus in perplexity at banning a sheep product because of Mad Cow fears. As the Guardian article mentions, this causes some in the US to try making haggis out of beef, which was both awful and a silly response to a bovine disease scare.


  1. Sheep can have BSE. That's why they banned sheep products as well.


  2. The article you reference makes pretty clear that the there is a theoretical possibility that BSE could jump from cows to sheep to humans, but that that is a conjecture only.

    "Scientists in the UK are trying to establish if BSE is - or has ever been - in the national sheep flock.

    So far, no cases of the equivalent of mad cow disease have been discovered in sheep and there is currently no suggestion that infection will break out.