Can You Eat Haggis When Pregnant? Is it Safe?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Many people don’t know what’s actually in a haggis, since the ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe. Is this Scottish delicacy safe to eat during pregnancy?

Liver, one of the main ingredients in haggis, is high in vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can be harmful to the developing baby, so it is best to avoid liver in large amounts when pregnant. However, you can eat liver-free haggis, which is readily available in most supermarkets.

Which brands of haggis are safe to eat when pregnant? Is it safe to eat vegetarian haggis? Let’s take a closer look at this Scottish dish to find out.

Is Haggis Safe During Pregnancy?

Haggis CAN be safe during pregnancy, but it depends on the type of haggis. Liver is one of the key ingredients in haggis, and it contains high levels of vitamin A. Too much amounts of vitamin A can cause congenital disabilities. The maximum recommended amount of vitamin A during pregnancy is 10,000 IU per day (source: Nutrients Journal).

Other dishes that contain liver, such as pate, should also be eaten in moderation or avoided altogether during pregnancy. Somewhat confusingly, the advice is different depending on which country you’re in. For more on this, see our liver during pregnancy guide.

close up on a sliced cooked haggis on a cutting board

The good news is that some brands of haggis do not contain liver and are safe to eat during pregnancy, like Macsween’s Original Recipe Haggis. According to their website, “Our haggis does not contain liver and is, therefore, safe for pregnant women.” (source: Macsween).

Make sure you cook and prepare haggis properly before eating it. Cooking haggis well will kill any harmful bacteria (source: Journal of Nutritional Science). You’ll need to cook it until the middle of the haggis reaches 70 degrees Celsius and remains at that temperature for 2 minutes (source: Food Standards Agency).

Since haggis is a meat product, it needs to be stored at temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, it will spoil quickly and may cause food poisoning (source: United States Department of Agriculture).

Food poisoning in pregnant women can cause serious health problems. For the mother it can cause dehydration, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the baby, food poisoning can cause premature birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth (source: Web MD).

If you’re pregnant and find yourself craving haggis, it’s best to get it from a reputable source like a butcher or supermarket.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Vegetarian Haggis?

Pregnant women can eat vegetarian haggis. Just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure that there are no other ingredients that could be harmful to you or your unborn baby.

vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties

Vegetarian haggis is usually made with lentils, oats, and vegetables, which are not only safe for pregnant women to eat but also healthy. You can find vegetarian haggis in most supermarkets.

Brands of vegetarian haggis that are safe for pregnancy include:

  • Macsween’s Vegetarian Haggis
  • Tesco’s McIntosh Vegetarian Haggis
  • Simon Howie’s Vegetarian Haggis

Whether the haggis is vegetarian or not, it is always best to cook and store it properly to avoid the potential risk of food poisoning. When in doubt, always consult your doctor or midwife before eating any type of haggis during pregnancy.

So in summary, haggis is safe for pregnant women to eat as long as it does not contain liver and is cooked properly. If you are unsure, always check with your doctor or midwife. Enjoy your haggis!