Several years back I decided to try Haggis, a Scottish delicacy, at a cultural event in our city that featured a pavilion showcasing Scotland. Haggis contains spices, oatmeal, animal internal organs wrapped in a cow stomach.
I am of Scottish descent with my great, grandfather being from the Shetland Islands. It was a rite of passage, that I failed miserably. In one word it was disgusting. Two bites in and I was done. Why the Scots made it their national food is beyond comprehension?
Now I have discovered that the Haggis I was eating was “fake.” It was actually supposed to be more disgusting. True Haggis includes “sheep lung,” and by the sounds of it, that was the star ingredient. One newspaper reported, “haggis without lung is no haggis at all” and as a Canadian butcher noted “Lung is terrible; there’s no way to make it good.”
But the use of sheep lung as food has been banned in Canada and the U.S. for nearly 50 years.
The National Post explains:
Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, typically consists of oatmeal, spices and various animal byproducts wrapped in a lamb’s stomach. Under a Canadian law reportedly first passed in 1971, however, traditional haggis is not legally considered food because it has been “adulterated” by animal lungs.
While Canadians are allowed to eat most parts of a sheep, lungs remain in a federally verboten category that includes genitals, udders, spleens and “black gut.”
The lung ban is mirrored in the United States, where authorities have similarly mandated since 1971 that “livestock lungs shall not be saved for use as human food.”
Macsween of Edinburgh was forced to circumvent this regulation by making their Canadian haggis with sheep heart, rather than sheep lung. The company also needed to have their facilities approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.