Oeko-Tex introduces GMO testing for organic cotton
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In future, organic cotton textiles that companies also want to have certified according to the international Oeko-Tex 100 textile standard will require proof that the cotton is free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This was announced by the standard provider, the Swiss company Oeko-Tex Service GmbH. The new review gives manufacturers and marketers the certainty that their organic cotton products meet legal requirements and consumer expectations with regard to GMOs, as Oeko-Tex general secretary Georg Dieners explained the initiative.
Background: GMOs in Indian organic cotton
In August 2017, the Swiss consumer magazine Saldo revealed that organic cotton from India, certified according to the organic textile standard GOTS, was heavily contaminated with genetically modified cotton. About two thirds of the organic cotton processed worldwide comes from India; at the same time, 90 percent of the conventional cotton grown there is genetically modified. Of course, organic cotton has to be GMO-free and the GOTS standard also explicitly stipulates that it is GMO-free.
However, GOTS leaves it to the certifiers to what extent they control their standards. Furthermore, there is not any internationally recognised test method for GMOs in cotton fibres; the laboratories only use analytical methods developed in-house, according to a statement by GOTS in autumn 2017. Some industry experts believe that Oeko-Tex has now taken advantage of this hesitant attitude. Many manufacturers who have themselves certified according to GOTS do not use the Oeko-Tex 100 standard, as it is less strict on the pollutant side than GOTS. Now Oeko-Tex wants to score with the proven absence of GMOs - because the GOTS certificate promises this, but obviously cannot guarantee it at present.
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