Genetically contaminated – yes or no?

GOTS-Statement on genetic contamination of textiles made from organic cotton
Global Organic Textile Standard is a certification authority for one of the strictest organic cotton seals of approval. It was confronted from many different quarters with the assertion, GOTS certified products have been shown to contain traces of genetically modified cotton. The implication of this was that these products should not have been labelled as certified organic products. In the three-page statement the GOTS addresses this accusation in detail by explaining its standard, what is organic cotton and genetically modified cotton, and the test methods. It also states the next steps the GOTS will take, whilst also providing procedural guidelines for independent GOTS certification.
The real challenge, therefore, is the testing itself. In its statement, the GOTS concludes that there is no internationally recognised standard test method to prove the genetic contamination of organic cotton and that the methods that are currently available in the market are unreliable.
Experts are said to confirm that, when cotton fibres alone are tested, i.e. no other plant fibres are in the product, the test results obtained are unreliable. If the cotton has already passed through a number of stages of textile processing (from thread to the end product), then these results are increasingly unreliable. On the other hand, other laboratories state that they could successfully test the DNA of cellulose. Indeed, experts say that statements about the quantity of genetic contamination in a finished textile product are perhaps theoretically possible but in practice almost impossible. When the GOTS conducted a large-scale test, it produced unreliable results.
This means: “Test reports used by laboratories are not comparable and can indicate false positive and false negative results.” It has prompted the GOTS to start the process of developing a uniform, reliable test method.

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