THE boss of Scotland’s largest haggis maker has said Brexit has put “a real spanner in the works” for Scots in Europe who want to celebrate Burns Night.

James Macsween, of Macsween Haggis, was speaking after Mike Thom, an expat Scot in Catalonia, told The National he had been unable to source “the craitur” for the annual celebration of Barcelona Burns Club he founded when he moved to the city with his family.

He said the club now faced having to eat a Catalan form of black pudding which, although pleasant enough was “not the real beast”.

Macsween, whose firm is based in Loanhead, near Edinburgh, said they usually exported to France, Germany and Spain, amongst others, but since Brexit it was easier to send haggis to Canada than any European destination.

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“Brexit has been a real spanner in the works when it comes to the shipment of domestic produce, individual haggis for domestic customers into Europe,” he said.

“Let's say you lived in Madrid and you wanted to get some haggis sent by mail or our mail order partner.

“There's a 50-50 chance it won't get out because it'll be rejected. So my mail order partner company haggis was doing a lot of mail order into Europe and that in the main has been knocked on the head, unfortunately.”

Because haggis is a meat “composite” product, each one for a domestic customer in Europe needs an export health certificate, a time-consuming and expensive requirement.

“I think there's a lot of confusion about what's allowed for domestic consumption and what's then considered a commercial shipment,” said Macsween.

“I've got one customer in Germany and we send him pallet loads, and each pallet delivery will have the necessarily export health certificate commercial invoice packing list. And that's how you do it commercially.

“But when you're sending lots of little discrete parcels of maybe one or two kilos, it's not financially viable to do that for shipments of that of that size.

“It’s easier to send stuff to Canada and Singapore than it is to send stuff into Europe because they're all over us. I feel they are holding us to the letter of the law on exports.

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“Until very recently, we've not been holding them to the same law for them importing goods into the UK, but that's now changing because the import and export regulations are now going to be the same.

“We've got to accept and get on with it, but I hope in time that some common sense will prevail and we may see a relaxation of the legislation.

“I hope I don't I don't think so.”


Ahead of his date with the Catalan pudding, Thom found his muse and penned “Nae Parcel’s ae Haggis in a Nation”, with licence from the Bard: Farewell to Scottish food Farewell to ancient glory Farewell even to Scottish good Sae fam'd in kitchen story Now Sark runs over Solway sands and Tweed runs to the ocean To mark where England's province stands Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

I would that I had seen the day That treason thus could sell us My auld clay head will miss the haggis Like Bruce and loyal Wallace But pith and power till my last hour I'll make this declaration We were bought and sold for English gold Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.