National Restaurant Association Announces Additional Speakers to Address 2007 Public Affairs Conference

Congressmen and USDA Under Secretary to Discuss Food Safety

Washington, DC – The National Restaurant Association today added two new speakers to the impressive lineup of presenters at its Public Affairs Conference, to be held September 25-26, 2007, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.  U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6); and Dr. Richard Raymond, Under Secretary for Food Safety for the Food Safety and Inspection Service with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will address the crowd of more than 700 restaurateurs from across the nation.  They will join Representatives John Boehner (R-OH-8) and Adam Putnam (R-FL-12); Ari Fleischer, former spokesperson for President George W. Bush; and Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton, in the conference program. 
 
“The National Restaurant Association continues to be at the forefront of debates about key public policy issues that affect restaurant operators, and the 2007 Public Affairs Conference will provide a dialogue with lawmakers and opinion leaders to promote our pro-employee/pro-employer policy agenda,” said Peter Kilgore, acting interim president and chief executive officer of the Association.  “We are pleased that Representative Pallone and Dr. Raymond will be joining the Public Affairs Conference to discuss one of the most important issues for restaurateurs – the safety of the food supply, both imported and domestically produced.” 

Serving his tenth full term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pallone represents New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District.  Pallone was chosen by his colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee to chair the powerful Subcommittee on Health, which has sole jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration.   

Dr. Richard Raymond was appointed Under Secretary for Food Safety in July 2005.  In this position, Dr. Raymond is responsible for overseeing the policies and programs of the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), and he chairs the U.S. Codex Steering Committee, which provides guidance to U.S. delegations to the Codex Alimentarius, a commission created to develop food standards to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade.  Amid safety concerns of imported products, Dr. Raymond and FSIS have played a pivotal role in the Presidential Interagency Import Safety Working Group, which made its initial report to President Bush on September 10.  As a key member of one of the leading U.S. food safety agencies, Dr. Raymond has evaluated current procedures and regulations to make sure that our food supply remains the safest in the world.   

Restaurateurs in attendance at the 2007 Public Affairs Conference will learn about critical public policy issues and meet with members of Congress to discuss their concerns and support of key legislation impacting the restaurant industry. 
 
Reporters who would like to attend the conference or accompany restaurateurs on their Capitol Hill visits should pre-register by contacting the Association at (202) 973-3677 or media@dineout.org .  For more details and the full agenda, visit www.restaurant.org/paconference .