Canadian man helps hundreds of ex-pat Scots get their hands on haggis

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A CANADIAN has revealed how he helps hundreds of ex-pat Scots beat the US ban on haggis ahead of Burns night.

Steve McVittie has sold 1,400lbs of “authentic” haggis from his foodstore in Vancouver in the past month alone.

Many of his customers are Scots working across the border in Washington State, some of whom make round trips of up to 300 miles to pick up a haggis.

Steve McVittie and wife Lil outside their shop in Vancouver, Canada
Steve McVittie and wife Lil outside their shop in Vancouver, Canada

Mr McVittie said his $30 Canadian (£16) haggis was supplied by an unnamed Scottish butcher working in the same city.

The US authorities banned the importation of haggis on the grounds that one of its key ingredients – lung – is unfit for human consumption.

Mr McVittie, who owns the Celtic Treasure Chest, declined to comment on whether his recipe includes lung but said it did include beef, suet, lamb liver, lamb heart, onions, and oats.

“We sell over 1400lb of haggis each January, and we have a great trade throughout the year too.

“It’s not just Scots but a lot of people want to try it.

“We are fortunate that the haggis we sell is authentic and made by a Scottish butcher here in Vancouver.

“We sell out every year no matter how much we get made.”

Mr McVittie has expanded his range to canned haggis and haggis sausages.

And his list of customers is also expanding.

“We have every pipe band and Scottish associated organisation holding burns suppers in January and we supply to all the local events.

“One year we supplied haggis to the British Consulate in Quebec.”

One Scots expat, who asked not to be named, told how he takes a 280-mile round trip from his home in Washington State to get the haggis and then smuggle it back across the border.

“It’s something that you genuinely miss when you no longer live at home.

I think it’s something you take for granted, but you do become very patriotic when you live away from home for so long.

“I have a family over here now and I want them to be able to try these things, like haggis. It’s definitely something you just crave when you are away from home and know that you can’t have it.

“It’s worth the trip – it tastes great compared to the crap haggis the Americans try to make.”

A spokeswoman for the United States department of Agriculture said that haggis is still considered to be “unfit for human consumption” and that there are no plans to change this.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Haggis has been Scotland’s national dish for centuries and is still hugely popular with Scots and Scots at heart all over the world.

“With almost nine million Americans claiming Scots ancestry there is clearly an appetite in the US for haggis made to traditional recipes.

“We look forward to the USA resuming imports of Scotch Beef and are optimistic that this will pave the way for the resumption of imports of other iconic Scottish products such as haggis and Scotch Lamb.”

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