Indian organic cotton fraud?

The news is out about contamination of organic cotton by genetically modified cotton in India. Certain Indian producers have failed to suitably protect their crops from contamination in a major scandal which has been called a fraud by some observers.

Rather than accept claims that the cotton has been cross contaminated through pollination, there are suspicions that GM seeds have been used to artificially boost yields in otherwise poor conditions.

This is a temptation with organic cotton production, which can result in poor yields if growing conditions arent right. GM seeds provide reliably good yields in all situations, leading some producers to choose GM as a way of ensuring a good crop.

But now some big names including H & M, and the European brand C & A have been called to account for failing to adequately test their cotton to ensure it is organic.

My sources tell me that Control Union (CU, formerly SKAL) have now decertified whole regions of India in the face of this scandal. Indeed very few farm level certifications are now available.

This is a very dangerous situation for India, organic cotton producers there are fond of claiming that China can never reach their level of organic cotton production, as GM prevalence is too widespread there. But if GM spreads too widely across the cotton growing belt of India too, they will find themselves in the same position.

More information here, or if you can read German, there is a very good and fulsome article here.

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