After scandals, Egypt tightens cotton quality control
Ever since Target and other prominent US retailers found that a supplier was selling its bed sheets and other products that falsely had 100 % Egyptian cotton, an industry group in Egypt has stiffened its standards and doubled down on DNA-based certification. The retailer dropped a contract with Welspun India after it became clear that the sheets Target was getting were not 100 % Egyptian cotton as advertised. And the retailer was just the first: Walmart dropped the sheets soon after which Bed Bath & Beyond followed in the same trajectory. Other firms also have been quick to audit the textile giant
This move has shaken up the bedding industry and threatened the future of Indian Welspun Group. It also put attention on Egyptian cotton in general for which demand has grown even as cotton production from the country has shrunk significantly. The Cotton Egypt Association (CEA), the group that certifies fabrics as 100 per cent Egyptian, has long tested producers’ fibres. The process of certification, however, has faced challenges, because of size limitations.
Announced earlier this year, CEA’s latest strategy is to conduct DNA-based testing to test more effectively. The results are telling in ways that Currently, Welspun is heavily depending on CEA as it wants to repair its brand image at the earliest. Among other steps, Welspun is using CEA’s DNA-based certification process to confirm the integrity of its sheets as well as moving its production of such cotton in-house from procuring cotton to the finished product. The firm has maintained its Gold Seal certification from CEA.