Hands Off Oor Haggis!

24 January 2008
A cross party group of Euro MPs from Scotland has launched a bid to secure EU market protection for Haggis.

Following in the footsteps of traditional Scottish products like Scotch Whisky and Arbroath Smokies, Scots MEPs are seeking recognition for their national dish to be known as "Scotch or Scottish Haggis", under EU regulations called Protected Geographical Indications or PGIs.

The regulation states that PGI's "identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member State or a region or locality of that territory, where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin."

Scottish MEPs - Struan Stevenson (Conservative), Alyn Smith (SNP), Elspeth Attwooll (Lib/Dem), Catherine Stihler (Labour), John Purvis (Conservative) and Ian Hudghton (SNP) argue that protection for haggis is necessary to ensure that no-one outside Scotland can try to pass off haggis as Scottish by adding tartan labels or pictures of bagpipers etc in an attempt to mislead the public. Confirming Scotch or Scottish Haggis as a traditional specialty would ensure that the product is made in Scotland and broadly conforms to the normal specification for haggis of sheep's pluck (heart/liver/lungs), onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, mixed with stock, or a broad combination of those basic ingredients, boiled in a sheep's stomach.

So far across the EU more than 4200 wines and spirits and 600 other products have achieved protected status under the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) regulations, including Champagne, Feta Cheese and Shetland Lamb.

'Uel Morton, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland, added

"The PGI's already in place for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are an invaluable tool in the drive to differentiate our quality products with a proud history and tradition in an increasingly crowded consumer marketplace. QMS will work with the industry to investigate the potential for a similar recognition for haggis, one of Scotland's best known meat products."