A US government delegation has been invited to Scotland in a bid to overturn its 40-year ban on haggis.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead's invitation comes two days ahead of Burns Night, when suppers are held in honour of poet Robert Burns.

Imported haggis was banned by the US because its food standards agency prohibits sheep lungs in food products.

Mr Lochhead raised the issue with the US last year but said he was still hopeful that imports would resume.

Traditional Scottish haggis, which is made with a sheep's heart, liver and lungs, had faced a double barrier.

In addition to the sheep's lung ban, the US prohibited the use of offal from the UK in the wake of the BSE outbreak in 1989.

However, the US ban on British meat products in the wake of the BSE crisis has since been relaxed.
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