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Growing demand, rising populations and increasing regulation make food one of the most challenging industries to operate in. In this issue of Hot Source, we look at the challenges posed by China’s tough new rules for food imports, cross-border food fraud, standards for genetically modified and genetically engineered foods, and new packaging regulations.

In recent years, Chinese officials have uncovered several serious food safety scandals. In response, the 2015 Food Safety Law was developed and came into effect in October last year. We explore the changes and what they mean for businesses importing food, products and ingredients.

Following a food safety theme, Europe’s Food Fraud Network (FFN) recorded 108 cases of cross-border food chain issues in 2015, an increase of more than 300% on 2013. The FFN figures offer an insight into cross-border food fraud and its scale.

Driven by demands for transparency in the supply chain and for declarations on food packaging, SGS has developed two standards for genetically modified and genetically engineered foods, which audit and verify processes across the supply chain, we explore the schemes in detail.

In packaging, the British Retail Consortium has released the latest edition of their packaging standard. A significant move towards standardising the production of packaging materials, not just within the food industry but also in other sectors, it brings quality into the risk assessment process.

We also look at SGS’s Special Session, presented at GFSI earlier this month, Shaping Food Safety Culture in Food Service – Challenges, Opportunities and Key Drivers, exploring the global threat imposed by unsafe practices in both food production and handling.

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SGS Agriculture and Food Team