CELEBRITY chef Nick Nairn has revealed he was once arrested for trying to smuggle haggis into New York.
The former Ready, Steady, Cook star was outed by a sniffer dog at an American airport who found the haggis hidden in his suitcase.
The 59-year-old from Stirling had tried to sneak the country’s national dish into the United States so he could cook a Burns supper for one of his clients.
However, immigration and customs pulled Nick over and told him he had committed an offence under bioterrorism laws.
Thankfully he was let off but he ended up leaving the airport without the haggis – therefore ruining his and the clients dinner plans.
Haggis has been banned in the US for decades because food standards officials consider one its ingredients – sheep’s lung – unfit for human consumption. The ban is now in the process of being lifted.
Speaking to Scottish Field magazine about the incident, Nick said: I once got arrested for being a terrorist.
“I had a client who I used to do a Burns supper for in New York so we took haggis over in our suitcase.
“Haggis was illegal in the States at the time and one year, I got caught by a little sniffer dog who found my haggis.
“I didn’t get charged, but they told me that I had committed an offence under bioterrorism laws by importing noxious substances into the US.”
During the interview, Nick also said he tried to crack some jokes with customs – but they were having none of it.
He added: “The last thing you want to do is fall foul of the customs and immigration guys in America because they don’t have a particularly good sense of humour.
“I was cracking jokes and they weren’t going for it.
“The problem was, it all had to go in the incinerator and left me without a haggis for a Burns supper.”
Haggis contains sheep lung which American authorities famously declared as “unfit for human consumption” in 2011.
Although talks are underway between the Scottish and US governments about lifting the ban, importation remains illegal.
In 2014 it was reported that a multi-million pounds trade in bootleg haggis was flourishing in the United States.
Expats defy the prohibition by sneakily buying homemade haggis containing the banned ingredients, while others smuggled it in over the Canadian border.
One haggis smuggler said that in an attempt to get haggis past customs, the best tactic was to “forget to fill in the declaration form” and then reel off a list of acceptable foods when questioned by an official.
If those in the US can’t get their hands on an illegal haggis, they have to put up with a poor americanised substitute which is free from sheep lung.