Bringing clarity on genetically modified (GMO) testing methods for the organic cotton sector, organic textile sector reaches a significant milestone in testing for GMO cotton.
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.
Almost two years ago 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 amongst laboratories worldwide to screen for the potential presence of 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 joint project has 14 laboratories from China, Germany, India, the Netherlands and Portugal that 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.
The 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 GM cotton.
Commenting on the 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.”