AMERICA’S decades-long ban on haggis could come to an end next year after Scotland’s biggest producer announced plans for the product to hit US shelves by this time next year.

Macsween of Edinburgh is gearing up to become the first company to serve Americans the Scottish delicacy since it was banned in 1971 because it contains sheep lungs.

While US officials have told The National there are no plans to change that, the Scottish firm is preparing to sell a brand new recipe fit for an American palate.

James Macsween, the third-generation family owner of the business, has already been exporting to countries such as Canada and Singapore for years.

READ MORE: Here's a short but spicy history of vegan haggis

But with US president Joe Biden putting an end to the 20-year ban on British beef and lamb introduced due to BSE, the Scot has his eyes firmly set across the pond – and he’s creating a new recipe to get it there.

He told The National: “Back in 2015, when I was out with the Scottish Government, the guys at animal plant health inspection who we met in Washington said if you want haggis with lung meat in it this meeting is over - but if you are prepared to reformulate your recipe with not have lung meat in it then we are all ears and are prepared to import a new recipe.

“But at that point I knew we had to do that for Canada so what’s the difference?

“We have been supplying haggis to Canada since 2017 and we have always used our reformulated recipe where we use lamb hearts instead of lamb lungs – that’s how we got around Canadian regulations.

“Americans don’t consider lungs suitable for human consumption but we are not opposed to changing the recipe and we have a good experience doing it.”

The National: Haggis has been banned in America since 1971Haggis has been banned in America since 1971

Macsween said that while the firm is now in a “strong position” to take on the American market, the financial climate of the past few years has put a brake on his plans.

“The challenges that my business has experienced have been the same as everyone else's,” he said.

“As much as America is a big market it’s been a matter of making sure we keep the home fires burning and keeping our staff safe through Covid and Brexit and servicing our existing export businesses before we start looking at green pastures.

“There’s a lot of cost involved in reformulating and making your product fit for an export market, because the specification that we make for the UK will be different for the US and that ties up a lot of time and money in making sure we have a product that complies with American regulations.”

Macsween said he is confident Americans will enjoy the recipe – even if it leaves out a key ingredient Scots are used to.

He said that, unlike a product such as the Stornoway black pudding, there are no hard and fast rules around what ingredients must go into haggis.

The National: Millions of people have Scottish ancestry in North AmericaMillions of people have Scottish ancestry in North America

And while sheep lungs are traditional and common in Scotland, every haggis maker has their own recipe.

Meanwhile the growing sales of vegetarian haggis skip the sheep lung issue altogether. 

Macsween said he has high hopes for America after seeing “strong” sales in Canada, with the country boasting almost as many people of Scottish descent as there are in Scotland.

America meanwhile is estimated to have as many as 30 million people with Scottish heritage - 10% of the population and a huge market for the haggis industry.

READ MORE: Please make sure your vegetarian haggis is not costing the Earth

Macsween continued: “Whatever we end up selling in the US will be well-received, I think. There are more Scots in America than in Scotland and they’re crying out for a genuine export haggis from Scotland.

“If we pull this off we will be the first exported haggis to America since the ban was put in place in 1971.

“And that’s what we did with Canada, and we did the same in Singapore. We got haggis into markets that had been closed for decades.

“So we want it across the line for Burns Night 2024 - it can be done.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon told The National: “There is huge interest in, and love of, Scottish food and drink produce in North America.

“A number of Scottish companies are already producing an alternative haggis recipe that is being exported and enjoyed in Canada, and I hope a similar solution could see haggis returning to the US in the near future.

"The Scottish Government will continue to work with the relevant authorities to support progress.”