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OCA kickstarts ISO IWA on GMO-screening in cotton and textiles

OCA successfully kickstarts ISO International Workshop Agreement on ‘GMO screening in cotton and textiles’

The ability to make credible claims about the presence of GM cotton in (organically certified) textiles and garment has long been a bone of contention for the sector. After initial conceptualization by GOTS, OCA decided to address the need for a globally accepted and objective method to serve the interest of industry and consumers, and strengthen the sector. Acknowledging the need for clarity, the ISO recently approved OCA’s proposal for an International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on a protocol for GMO screening in cotton and textiles.

Want to represent your organization’s interests in the development process? Read on!

Objective of the GMO-screening protocol

The protocol will provide precise guidelines to laboratories on how to test for GMO presence in cotton and processed cotton fibre in a reliable and replicable way. The possibility to isolate good quality DNA from samples derived from subsequent cotton production and processing steps (e.g. seed, leaf, fibre, yarn, fabric and garment) will also be assessed to inform the protocol. This will help to create clarity in the sector with regard to what can and cannot be tested for GMO presence in cotton and textiles.

The establishment of an ISO IWA on the preferred protocol for GMO screening in cotton and textiles will help address reputational concerns in the sector by creating a common language among laboratories and the textiles industry, while gaining assurance about claims of organic cotton.

All parties concerned

The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) approached the Dutch standardization institute NEN to facilitate the development of this IWA. The recognized development process will assure that the IWA includes perspectives from all parties concerned and is based on consensus. The technical project lead is EU Reference Laboratory RIKILT. Sally Uren—

Chief Executive at Forum for the Future—will act as the independent chair of the IWA-committee in this multi-stakeholder process.


Stakeholders are invited to participate in the development of this protocol on ‘Screening of GMOs in cotton and textiles’.

Registered participants will receive the draft of the protocol and will be invited to submit comments to this draft of the protocol. Comments on the draft received by registered participants will be discussed during two dedicated online meetings (to be organised via WebEx), prior to the face-to-face meeting in India.

The two preparatory online meetings will be organised mid-September 2018 and mid-November 2018, The face-to-face meeting will be held mid-January 2019 in India.

Details on further planning (including dates, venue and commenting circles) will be circulated to registered participants.


Stakeholders can express their interest to participate through the registration form as soon as possible but before 2 August 2018.

Please use this link to register for the event (2 online meeting sessions and one face-to-face meeting in India).

More information

For more information please contact Charlotte Mosies, consultant standards development at NEN, e-mail afc@nen.nl, telephone +31 15 2690 133.