The popularity of organic cotton has grown substantially in recent years. Consumers are increasingly worried about the environment. For them, organic foods and textiles are good choices, and are products for which they are willing to pay a premium. In return for that extra investment, consumers expect the organic products they buy to be genuine and verifiable as such.
New testing from OEKO-TEX helps companies throughout the global supply chain easily test their organic cotton products for GMOs (genetically modified organisms), a molecular-level indicator of whether or not cotton products actually meet a fundamental definition of organic.
Today, about 70% of cotton globally is genetically altered. For example, some forms of cotton have been engineered to be herbicide-resistant. Others have been infused with an insecticide to kill pests like boll weevils. While the industry can make strong arguments in favour of these cotton DNA modifications, the producers and consumers of organic cotton reject them. They place greater value on the environmental, social, and product safety paybacks that they perceive organic cotton offers.
The GMO testing by Oeko-Tex provides a straightforward manner to test for genetically modified organisms in organic cotton.
Samples are analysed using RT-PCR (reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction) technology, which can identify known genetically modified materials at a limit of 0.1%. Test results clearly indicate whether these GMOs were detected or not. Organic cotton products seeking Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex certification will be required to undergo GMO testing. GMO testing is optional for other products. Currently, the GMO testing technology is limited to cotton.
Georg Dieners, Oeko-Tex general secretary said: “The new GMO testing gives manufacturers and marketers confidence that their organic cotton products meet regulatory and consumer expectations with regards to GMOs as well as the independent, traceable documentation to prove it.”