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Care What You Wear

European Clothing Chains Hit by 'Fake' Organic Label Controversy

Monika Buening of the Federal Consumer Affairs Agency said the two companies needed to take action fast to limit the damage.

"The fashion chains (H&M and C&A) were not vigilant enough, " the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper quoted her as saying in its Saturday edition.

Buening demanded the clothing chains must now "disclose their supply chain" and "inspect their certifiers better, at least by conducting random checks."

Rebecca Harms, a member of the European Parliament for Germany's Green Party, called for tighter controls on organic textiles from the developing world.

"Consumer fraud"

Environmental organization Greenpeace called for a legal investigation into the matter.

The organization's agricultural expert, Martin Hofstetter, told German radio station MDR that some products which had not been organically produced, were being sold as such.

"This is a major malpractice. It's consumer fraud, which must be punished," he said.

The problem with organic cotton from India primarily involves the small structures of the farming sector, Hofstetter said.

He pointed out that many small fields in the country were often clustered together in close proximity to each other, cultivating a variety of different crops - organic, conventional and GM. That often resulted in crop contamination from one field to the other, he said.