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Why should organic cotton be tested for harmful substances?

Growing cotton organically, without pesticides is important for protecting the environment and people surrounding the cotton fields. Many processes between the field and the finished product have the potential to add toxics. That's where OEKO-TEX® comes in.

3 Options for Certification of Organic Cotton

100% Organic Cotton

>70% Organic Cotton

Organic cotton within OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 Certification

Effective April 1, 2025: Including terms like "organic" in the STANDARD 100 certificate scope is no longer allowed.

Organic cotton may be certified with STANDARD 100 WITHOUT mentioning organic claims (e.g. "organic" or "made of organically grown cotton").

If requested, GMO testing is available for products made with organically or conventionally grown cotton.

Regarding "organic cotton" or "GMO not detectable" in STANDARD 100

Effective April 1, 2025

After careful consideration and in line with our commitment to transparency and quality, the mention of "organic" or "GMO not detectable" will no longer be included in STANDARD 100 certification of cotton.

Certifying cotton as organic is achievable through OEKO-TEX® ORGANIC COTTON (>70% organic).

This decision is driven by our dedication to maintaining the highest standards of safety and compliance.

This pertains specifically to cotton materials. Other organic materials such as hemp, linen or wool remain unaffected. This rule was implemented to enhance our oversight of certified organic cotton, an area where fraud is prevalent. Our aim is to certify only genuinely trustworthy organic cotton as such.

Requirements if organic cotton is declared within STANDARD 100:

Allowed before April 1, 2025

Organic Components

All pre-certified main component materials made of cotton must also contain the term “organic” in the scope. Accessories are exempt.

Certificate of Origin

Valid organic origin certificate submitted with the application for OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certificate

GMO Testing

Negative GMO test results in addition to the regular testing program for OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100

Application Process for STANDARD 100 Certification of Organic Cotton

Before April 1, 2025

Follow the standard procedures for application and renewal, plus:

  • Complete the "Cotton/organic cotton" section of the normal OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 application form
  • Include organic basis certificate(s) (GOTs or other traceability certificate)

GMO Screening Process within STANDARD 100

1. The sample is shredded and the cotton fibers are mechanically and enzymatically degraded. The genetic material (DNA) is isolated from the fiber and purified.

2. Genetic modifications are classified by specific marker genes in the DNA. These genes can be identified on a molecular-biological level. Control reactions are used to prove that the DNA is unmodified and to exclude false-negative results.

Ben Mead
Managing Director
Hohenstein Americas