OEKO-TEX® recently announced new testing methods to identify genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in cotton that is labeled organic.
Today, about 70 percent of cotton globally is genetically altered, OEKO-TEX says. Some forms of cotton have been engineered to be herbicide-resistant. Others have been infused with an insecticide to kill pests like boll weevils. Producers may argue in favor of the modifications, but according to information provided by OEKO-TEX, consumers are less favorable, and more often they are placing greater value on the environmental, social and product safety paybacks that they perceive organic cotton offers.
To qualify as organic and to be marketed as such, cotton must meet a comprehensive list of criteria governing the cultivation, processing and segregation of the cotton. One major requirement is that the cotton plants cannot be genetically engineered. The new testing by OEKO-TEX analyzes samples using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology, which can identify known genetically modified materials at a limit of 0.1 percent. Test results 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.
“We learned in our ‘The Key to Confidence’ study that consumers who buy eco-friendly clothing and home textiles are likely to verify claims,” said Georg Dieners, OEKO-TEX general secretary. “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.”
OEKO-TEX provides standardized solutions that optimize customers’ manufacturing processes and help deliver high-quality, more sustainable products.