Major UK retailers are backing the Cotton Egypt Association’s drive to rid the supply chain of falsely labelled Egyptian Cotton goods. John Lewis and Dunelm support the CEA’s new rigorous accreditation process and ability to DNA test products, and say they will continue to insist suppliers adhere to the new standard.

Manufacturers who do not meet the new criteria will no longer be licensed to produce Egyptian Cotton products or use the trademarked logo.

The CEA have partnered with leading testing and verification body Bureau Veritas. The process, which has been endorsed by several academic and professional bodies, works by extracting DNA from cotton fibres, yarns, woven, knitted, fabric or finished apparel. This can then be used to identify the origin and source of the fibres and the percentage of genuine Egyptian Cotton in a product. The CEA say their initial focus is on products in the USA, Canada, Egypt, Europe, Australia and India.

John Lewis category technical manager, home, Tracy Saunders, said: “We support the measures being taken by the CEA to root out dishonest manufacturers and counterfeit goods from the supply chain and have welcomed the opportunity to work in collaboration with the CEA in setting out requirements to assure the provenance of Egyptian cotton product.

“While we are confident that all Egyptian Cotton products sold through John Lewis are 100% genuine, we support the need for auditing and testing. We will continue to insist that our suppliers meet the CEA standards as a condition of trade with John Lewis.”

Catherine McCann, Dunelm Group technical and sourcing director, said: “We fully support the new accreditation process put into place by the CEA to protect the Egyptian Cotton brand, and will be continuing to insist suppliers meet those standards as a condition of trade with Dunelm.”

Khaled Schuman, executive director of the Cotton Egypt Association, said: “We welcome the support from these key retailers. Their support and confidence in the process is what we need to overcome the spectre of falsehood, which has sought to tarnish the Egyptian Cotton brand name.

“Our goal is to bolster confidence, assure retailers that they will not encounter any compliance issues and reclaim Egyptian Cotton as the ultimate luxury cotton brand.”