GOTS brings clarity to GMO testing for organic cotton

GOTS brings clarity to GMO testing for organic cotton

In 2019, GOTS, the OCA and Textile Exchange partnered to develop the ISO IWA 32:2019 protocol to create a common language among laboratories to screen for the presence of GM cotton along the organic cotton value chain.

In
2019, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the Organic Cotton Accelerator
(OCA) and Textile Exchange partnered to develop the ISO IWA 32:2019 protocol to
create a common language among laboratories worldwide to screen for the
potential presence of genetically modified (GM) cotton along the organic cotton
value chain.

Following
that project, the partners set out on a new initiative to bring much-needed
clarity regarding the laboratories that perform testing against the
international ISO reference protocol and carry out qualitative GMO testing in
cottonseed, leaf, fibre and chemically unprocessed fibre-derived materials.

The
global ISO IWA 32:2019 proficiency test initiative is a collaboration between
GOTS, OCA and Textile Exchange with technical support from Wageningen Food
Safety Research. The joint project has reached a significant milestone:
fourteen laboratories from China, Germany, India, the Netherlands and Portugal
have successfully passed the proficiency test. An overview of the laboratories that
can currently conduct GMO testing as per the ISO IWA 32:2019 method has now
been jointly published by GOTS, OCA and Textile Exchange, which constitutes an
important milestone on the journey towards the widespread use of this
standardised protocol.

Bringing clarity on GMO testing
methods for the organic cotton sector, from seed to shirt

While
GMOs are excluded from organic systems, organic isn’t a claim of absolute
freedom from contamination or GMOs’ presence in organic products*. It is a
claim that GMOs are not deliberately or knowingly used and that organic
producers take far-reaching steps to avoid GMO contamination along the organic
cotton value chain, from farmers to spinners, to brands. To manage this, it is
essential that organic cotton stakeholders can reliably test their products for
the potential presence of GM cotton.  

The
ISO IWA 32:2019 is a globally accepted reference protocol that was developed to
screen for the potential presence of genetically modified (GM) cotton. The
protocol provided the organic cotton sector with an essential tool for taking
all reasonable precautions to prevent GM cotton in their organic cotton
produce. Since the publication of this globally accepted reference protocol,
qualitative GM cotton screening as per the ISO IWA 32:2019 is mandatory within
the GOTS and OCS (Organic Content Standard) supply chain and OCA’s Farmer
Engagement and Development programme.

The
sector now recommends using the ISO IWA 32 protocol throughout the organic
cotton value chain as the only recognised method for GMO testing. Therefore,
the global ISO IWA 32:2019 proficiency test initiative’s success is vital in
building confidence among the industry.

Commenting
on the global ISO IWA 32:2019 proficiency test initiative, OCA’s Programme Officer,
Mathilde Tournebize, said: “As a global platform, we are committed to
increasing the clarity and reliability of GMO screening for the organic cotton
sector. The first results of the global proficiency test initiative have given
us an overview of the laboratories that can be contacted to conduct such tests.
We’re hopeful that as we see more laboratories implementing the ISO IWA 32:2019
worldwide, several rounds of proficiency tests will help us all chart the labs
that can be contacted to reliably conduct GMO tests. We are proud to be working
in partnership with both GOTS and Textile Exchange as we are united in our
belief that this proficiency test will contribute to standardising GMO testing
along the organic cotton value chain. Our ambition is to reach out to more
laboratories and geographies to increase the widespread use of the ISO IWA
32:2019 protocol.”

Rahul
Bhajekar, Managing Director at GOTS, added: “I am glad to see a high level
of interest from laboratories across the world and results showing competence
from producing and buying countries. We shall continue to further advance this
collaboration with like-minded organisations to further develop the
standardisation of GMO testing in cotton fibre products. We remain committed to
ensuring that GOTS goods are free from GMOs.”

Amish
Gosai, South Asia Manager at Textile Exchange, said: “The success of
standardised testing methods depends on adaptability and uniformed results.
Labs achieving a successful outcome in the proficiency test indicates both lab
performance and the effectiveness of this method. We are glad to see that this
initiative shows that the global ISO IWA 32 testing method gives consistent
outcomes, and we look forward to more labs joining the next round of the
proficiency test.”

A first step into unifying the sector
on GMO screening

The
ISO IWA 32:2019 proficiency test initiative will not cease with the current
laboratories; the joint initiative will be repeated regularly. More
laboratories are welcome to apply for the next round of proficiency test, which
will be organised, once sufficient demand has been reached. The ISO IWA 32
protocol is also currently in the process of being converted to an
International Standard by the ISO TC 34 / SC 16 / JWG 12 ‘Molecular biomarkers
of agricultural fibres’. GOTS, OCA and Textile Exchange are participating in
the working group to ensure that the organic cotton sector interests are
represented. For more information about the global ISO IWA 32:2019 proficiency
test initiative, please see below.

Are
you a GM cotton testing laboratory that implemented the ISO IWA 32:2019
reference protocol and are you interested in joining the next round of
proficiency test? Do you have any questions about the global ISO IWA 32:2019
proficiency test initiative? Or would you like to update your contact details?
Please contact Mathilde Tournebize with your query: secretariat@organiccottonaccelerator.org

CATEGORIES
TAGS
Share This

COMMENTS

Wordpress (0)
Disqus ( )

Hi There!

Now get regular updates from ITJ Magazine on WhatsApp!

Click on link below, message us with a simple hi, and SAVE our number

You will have subscribed to our Textile News on Whatsapp! Enjoy

+91 81082 88300

Reach out to us

Call us at +91 8108603000 or

Schedule a Call Back