1. ITV Report

Could the US finally overturn its ban on haggis?

One of Scotland's favourite foodstuffs is banned in the US. Photo: g

Despite living in a country renowned for its hearty appetite, Americans are now entering their fifth decade without access to one of the UK's foremost contributions to world cuisine - haggis.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports:

Sheep lung - an essential ingredient in traditional haggis - has been banned in the US since 1971.

Along with that ban, all British lamb products have been outlawed since the beginning of the BSE crisis in 1989.

It's one of a number of products deemed unsafe by the US authorities, including unpasteurised cheese that is under 60 days old - a rule that means many French cheeses are hard to come by.

Haggis is often served with neeps and tatties on Burns night. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

After talks with haggis producers last week, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is now preparing to lobby his American counterpart, Tom Vilsack, to lift the ban and let Americans savour the unique delights of haggis.

"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.

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

Owen Paterson will hope his positive message about British produce convinces his US counterpart. Credit: Soeren Stache/DPA/Press Association Images

The Scottish Secertary, Alistair Carmichael, was even more effusive about the joys of his national cuisine, saying:"In my own constituency, we produce some of the finest lamb in the country, if not the world, so I know just how good Scottish meat can be.

"As for haggis, all I can say is, the Americans don't know what they're missing. Let's try to put that right too."