Scottish Government
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Obama’s aide offers food for thought

One of Barack Obama’s key aides will head the line-up for the Scottish Government’s 2012 National Food and Drink Conference.

Dr Janey Thornton, the US Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service, will discuss the benefits of collaborative working for both Scotland and America at the event in Perth on March 7.

Also joining Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead on the conference platform will be Dr Joao Breda from the World Health Organization. He will assess how Scotland is progressing in relation to some of the world’s top food and drink issues.

Completing the line-up at the event - which celebrates Scotland’s high quality food and drink sector and its many innovative businesses and producers - will be one of Scotland’s top chefs, Nick Nairn, as well as entrepreneur Fraser Doherty of SuperJam, who turned his teenage hobby into a successful business.

Mr Lochhead, who will open the event, said:

“Scotland has a natural larder that is second to none and this conference is an ideal opportunity for us to celebrate our many successes and build for the future.

“With exports at a record high, our food and drink is becoming increasingly sought after on foreign dining tables and exports from this sector have a crucial role to play in helping us grow our economy.

“I’m delighted that we have attracted such illustrious speakers to our National Food and Drink Conference and I’m sure it will be both fascinating and inspiring to hear the different perspectives they will bring.

”As well as showcasing what has already been achieved by our food and drink industry, this conference allows us to share expertise and ideas which will allow this flourishing sector to continue to thrive.

“Scotland’s food and drink industry can truly hold its own on the world stage so it seems appropriate that this conference should have an international flavour. Whether at home or overseas, our fine natural produce is recognised as being of the highest quality and this is an asset which gives us a tremendous advantage in this competitive sector.”

Scotland’s National Food and Drink Conference takes place in Perth Concert Hall on March 7. Key themes of the conference will be education and innovation within Scotland’s food and drink industry. Delegates will have the opportunity to hear about projects currently underway, as well as listening to a debate by school pupils on food advertising to young people.

Dr Janey Thornton was appointed by President Barack Obama as Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services in April 2009. She is responsible for improving the health and well-being of Americans by developing and promoting science-based dietary guidance and administering USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs. Most recently she has lead the implementation of the new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which will help improve the meals offered to kids in school.

Dr Joao Breda is the programme manager for nutrition, physical activity and obesity with the World Health Organization. He previously worked as a Public Health Nutritionist at the General Health Directorate in the Portuguese Ministry of Health and is a former Professor of Nutrition at the University Atlântica and Head of Department of Nutrition.

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