Is That Really Organic Cotton?

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The popularity of organic cotton has grown substantially, says OEKO-TEX. (iStock photo used by permission of OEKO-TEX®.)

Tim Burke |

Consumers who buy eco-friendly textiles ‘verify claims,’ says OEKO-TEX

ZURICH, Switzerland — Today, about 70% of cotton globally is genetically altered, writes OEKO-TEX®, a company that provides standardized solutions for manufacturing.

New GMO (genetically modified organisms) testing by this company provides a straightforward manner to test for genetically modified organisms in organic cotton, it notes.

The firm’s testing, it explains, helps companies throughout the global supply chain easily test their organic cotton products for GMOs, a molecular-level indicator of whether or not cotton products actually meet a fundamental definition of organic.

“We learned in our Key To Confidence study that consumers who buy eco-friendly clothing and home textiles are likely to verify claims,” says Georg Dieners, OEKO-TEX® general secretary.

The popularity of organic cotton has grown substantially in recent years. Consumers are increasingly worried about the environment and about harmful substances in the products they buy for themselves and their families, the company reports.

“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,” Dieners says.

For consumers, the firm relates, organic foods and textiles are good choices, and are products for which they are willing to pay a premium. But, in return for that extra investment, consumers expect the organic products they buy to be genuine and verifiable as such.

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, the firm relates.

While the industry can make strong arguments in favor of these cotton DNA modifications, the producers and consumers of organic cotton reject them, it notes.

“They place greater value on the environmental, social, and product safety paybacks that they perceive organic cotton offers,” it says.

To qualify as organic and to be marketed as such, the company indicates, 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.”

Organic cotton products seeking STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification will be required to undergo GMO testing, it notes.

With 25 years of experience, the company writes that it leads the world in empowering and enabling consumers and companies to protect our planet by making responsible decisions.

About the author

Tim Burke

American Drycleaner

Editor

Tim Burke is the editor of American Drycleaner. He can be reached at 312-361-1684 or tburke@atmags.com.

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