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Testex is a globally operating and independent Swiss testing and certification company with a focus on textile testing.

Sustainability, transparency and ethical standards are core principles to which it is committed. With its testing and certification services it supports manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, brands and end-users.

Testex has been a member of the Oeko-Tex association since 1993. Oeko-Tex enables consumers and companies to protect our planet by making responsible decisions. It offers companies of the textile and leather industry several certifications and services to have their products tested for harmful substances by independent institutes, and to optimise their production conditions and their supply chains with regard to sustainability.

All Oeko-Tex services offer independent certification, have international validity, and test criteria and limit values are in conformance with relevant current national and international regulations.

The latest additions to our services include GMO cotton testing and the extension of STeP by Oeko-Tex to cover leather facilities too.

Reasons for GMO screening

Today, about 70% of the cotton grown globally is genetically modified, making certain cotton types resistant to pests or pesticides.

Whether the modified cotton actually lives up to this promise out in the fields is being questioned more and more. Demand for GMO-free and organic cotton is growing rapidly, as consumers are increasingly worried about the environment and harmful substances in the products they wear, so they want to see independent proof on the labels of the garments they buy.

The DNA-analysis allows Testex to make a clear yes or no statement regarding genetic modifications in cotton. The procedure is applicable to all textiles within the textile value chain, from the cotton fields to the store.

The testing procedure is a GMO screening on a DNA level, where samples are analysed using qPCR technology (real-time polymerase chain reaction). A sample is tested for a specific sequence of genetic markers which can identify a genetic modification up to a value of 0.1% (molecular biological evidence).

Firstly the cotton sample is crushed and the fibres are mechanically extracted using enzymes. The DNA is then removed from the fibres and purified, after which it is tested for genetic markers. A control sample of unaltered cotton DNA is tested to exclude false negative results. The cotton DNA is usually protected in the nucleus of the fibre. However, in some cases (roughly 10%) the cotton in a finished product has been so heavily processed that the DNA cannot be extracted.

All GMO free textiles receive the Testex Proven Quality label which contains a statement confirming they are GMO free.

Why certify leather?

The leather market is constantly growing – leather remains an important part of most brands’ portfolio as it is a timeless fashion item which can be found in many garments.

Leather is both expensive and durable so consumers expect quality. In an age of climate change and increased awareness concerning environmental issues, they want to have a good conscience by buying safe and sustainable leather.

For this reason, we have built on the Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex by extending STeP by Oeko-Tex (new: Sustainable Textile & Leather Production) to cover leather facilities too as of April 2019.

STeP by Oeko-Tex is a certification for environmentally friendly and socially responsible textile and leather production facilities which consists of six modules: chemical management, environmental performance, environmental management, social responsibility, occupational health and safety and quality management.

Being a natural product which needs to be preserved, leather processing uses a significant amount of chemicals. For this reason we have a continuous exchange with industry representatives such as the ZDHC to ensure that our certifications fulfil the most stringent requirements.

We take a holistic approach with our comprehensive portfolio, offering globally recognised certifications which cover the whole supply chain from input, through process, to output.

The Leather Standard by Oeko-Tex is the only one of its kind on the market that tests such a wide range of chemicals for harmful substances. It can also be combined with the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex for garments or accessories which contain both leather and textile components.

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