A pro-independence supporter wearing a kilt holds the Scottish flag
London - AFP
The British government was pushing the United States on Monday to lift its ban on Scotland's national dish haggis, three months before a referendum on Scottish independence.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson -- whose Conservative government backs the "Better Together" campaign to stop a Scottish breakaway on September 18 -- said reversing the ban could net Scotland millions of pounds (dollars) a year.
Haggis is traditionally made by chopping sheep's heart, liver and lungs with onion, oatmeal and suet.
The mixture is then stuffed into a sheep's stomach, boiled for several hours and served with turnips and potatoes -- or neeps and tatties, in Scots slang.
It is typically served on Burns Night, accompanied by Robert Burns's poem "Address To A Haggis" and a glass of whisky, but is widely available all year round.
The consumption of sheep's lungs has been banned in the United States since 1971.
"I share many haggis producers' disappointment that American diners are currently unable to enjoy the taste of Scotland's wonderful national dish in their own country," said Paterson.
"I am meeting my US counterpart today to discuss how we can begin exporting it, particularly as so many Americans enjoy celebrating their Scottish heritage."
The talks come as part of wider negotiations between the European Union and the United States on a trade deal.
Nearly nine million people in the United States are thought to claim Scottish ancestry.