A UK politician has suggested eating more haggis as a way to tackle America’s obesity epidemic, the BBC reports.
Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish made of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or lamb. The chopped up meat is mixed with oatmeal and other spices, such as cayenne pepper and onion. It’s then packed up like a jumbo sausage into the lining of a sheep or lamb’s stomach and boiled.
The US Food and Drug Administration has prohibited the import of Scottish haggis since 1971, when a ban was placed on any food containing animal lungs. The ban was reinforced in the late 1980s during Europe’s mad cow disease scare, Food Safety News reports.
But Lord McColl of Dulwich, a member of the House of Lords who previously worked as a professor and surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Medical School in London, is working toward having that ban lifted. He lamented the conditions of 24 million American Scots who were denied “this wholesome food” because of a ban on food imports, the BBC said.
The remark was directed at British prime minister David Cameron, currently in Washington for a state visit to President Obama. The BBC reported that food minister Lord de Mauley said the EU and the UK were working to get import bans in the US lifted.
Dulwich claims that haggis satisfies “hunger very much more than the junk food which Americans consume,” the BBC reports, and that the Scottish food would help deal with the “obesity epidemic” in America.
Haggis does have some nutrients — a haggis producer in Edinburgh describes the “oaty, spicy mince” as a “great source of iron, fibre, and carbohydrate with no artificial colours, flavourings, or preservatives” — but it’s far from a health food. It’s high in saturated fat and salt.
In 2006, the Scottish government placed haggis on list of foods that should be eaten in moderation, alongside turkey twizzlers and burgers.
At the time, BBC quoted a Scottish Executive spokeswoman who said: “Haggis is tasty but due to fairly high salt and fat content young children should only indulge in moderation.”
On Tesco’s online market, haggis’ nutritional values are listed as 240 kCal per 100 grams. Almost 14% of it is pure fat.
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