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A toast to Scots food and drink

12 February 08 00:31 GMT

A conference will discuss ways of building Scotland's global reputation in food and drink and creating an industry worth £10bn by 2017.

The event will also focus on food tourism and will look at how industries can collaborate to provide visitors with fresh, locally produced food.

It is being held by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of Scotland Food and Drink.

Research into tourists' views of food they were served in Scotland will also be revealed at the Gleneagles event.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said: "The first national Scotland Food and Drink conference comes at a pivotal time in our national discussion on food.

"The discussion will help us develop a national food policy that is designed to boost jobs and business, help make food healthier and to minimise the environmental impacts of food production, manufacture and retail.

"A healthy future for the industry contributes to sustainable economic growth in Scotland. From our top-quality meat, fish and seafood to our delicious soft fruit and world-famous whisky, Scotland is renowned for its world-class reputation for food and drink. 

"We want the freshest, finest future for Scottish food. Supporting food production and manufacturing in Scotland is in our national interest.

"It is essential that all those involved in Scotland Food and Drink contribute to the debate and have their say on the future of Scottish food."

Paul McLaughlin, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: "Since Scotland Food & Drink was launched in June 2007 a huge amount of effort has gone into setting up the organisation as a stand-alone body."

Maggie McGinlay, director of food and drink at Scottish Enterprise, said: "Those of us involved in setting up the new organisation know there is widespread support in the industry for the aims of Scotland Food and Drink and this event will give everyone a chance to find out about their detailed plans."

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