Brexit bureaucracy means it is now easier to export haggis to Canada than to the EU
The makers of Haggis have warned as Burns Night approaches that it is now easier to export the delicacy to Canada than to Europe due to EU bureaucracy after Brexit.
James MacSween, managing director of market-leading third-generation family-owned MacSween, said its exports to the EU would be cut in half this year. Expatriate Scots are now at risk of missing out on the traditional Burns Night haggis feast on January 25.
“It has become much more difficult to do routine trade to Europe,” said Mr. MacSween, “It is difficult to bring goods into Europe. There is no denying it.
Since Brexit came into effect on December 31, 2020, haggis, which is made from lamb, beef, oats, onions and spices, has faced EU export rules for products of animal origin from third countries.
“It’s easier for me to export haggis to Canada. I have Canadian experience. Canada now recognizes that I am an exporter, I am approved for Canada, ”said Mr. MacSween.
Heat treatment and health certificates
The Edinburgh-based company will export 3.5 tonnes of haggis to Canada this year, double the amount sent to Germany.
MacSween exported around 3.5 tonnes of haggis to Germany, the EU’s largest haggis market, to exceed the 2020 end-of-year Brexit deadline and secure supplies for the final Burns Night.
Before Brexit, a haggis exported to Germany could simply be put on a pallet in a truck. Now the pallet must undergo heat treatment and documents including an export health certificate, packing list and commercial invoice provided.
“The amount of protocol I have to do to enter France and Germany is the same that I have to do for Singapore and Canada,” Mr. MacSween said.
These restrictions also apply in Northern Ireland, which under its protocol continues to follow certain EU rules to avoid a hard Irish border.
Mr. MacSween said, “I don’t see any other haggis producer trying to export. Potentially it is easier for me to export to Canada than to export to Northern Ireland. There is a lot of anxiety about bringing these pallets into Northern Ireland. “
MacSween, which was established in 1953, exported four tonnes of haggis to Northern Ireland in December, but has a long history of customs rules of navigation.
“Nothing to do with food security”
This month, the United States agreed to change its import rules to allow the sale of British lamb, and MacSween plans to start exports of haggis there next year. The company overcame a 1971 US haggis ban by selling vegetarian haggis in the United States.
A Defra spokesperson said haggis was an ‘iconic Scottish product’ and that the government wanted producers to be successful as the dish gained popularity around the world.
He said the UK had “worked closely with the EU” and “encouraged them to act pragmatically” on export health certificates, but advised producers to speak to the EU in advance. EU border checkpoints to ensure the haggis would be cleared through.
The European Commission said there had been no progress in recent UK-EU meetings to facilitate trade in animal products.
Scottish Conservative Ian Duncan, former Minister, MEP and now Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, said: ‘Something is clearly wrong if a product that meets all EU food regulations but it a few months ago is suddenly off the menu.
“It’s almost as if the stalemate has nothing to do with food security,” he added.
Alyn Smith, Scottish National Party MP for Stirling and former MEP, said the haggis situation was “beyond madness”.
“There is a larger context here that there is not a single product that has benefited from Brexit. Not just one, ”he said.