James A Hayward
President & CEO Applied DNA Sciences, Inc.
SigNatureT levels the playing field and helps to ensure a fair return to all parties of the supply chain
Applied DNA Sciences works towards developing unique technologies to prevent counterfeiting of products. James A Hayward, president and CEO of the company, spoke to Fibre2Fashion about its latest forensic achievements in tackling textile counterfeiting.
Please tell us about your latest DNA forensic technology for cotton.
SigNatureT DNA is our flagship technology that includes the creation of a unique DNA molecular tag that is applied onto cotton fibre and used as a tracer from source to shelf. Think of the tag like a molecular fingerprint or barcode. It is a unique code that we create so that it binds to the fibre or product. It does not alter the quality, composition or performance of the product. It is made to be stable, safe and will survive a wide range of manufacturing processes and chemistries. Sold at major US retail stores, under the brand PimaCott (for US-grown Pima cotton) and homegrown (for US-grown Upland cotton), SigNatureT is a technology that provides an end-to-end system providing supply chain traceability, trackability and transparency. By following this unique DNA tag from the fibre all the way to a finished product sold at retail, you can be sure that the product quality and performance is preserved; ensuring that the end consumer receives a product that meets the claims from land to brand.
SigNatureT can be used to tag yarn, fabric, synthetic fibres, finished goods, labels and protective coatings. It comes from plants, is very safe, and will not alter the performance or quality of the fibre, yarn or fabric. Since 2014, we have tagged over 100 million pounds of Pima and Upland Cotton fibre and have been able to authenticate the DNA molecule in the yarn, dyed fabric right through to the finished product.
How does this technology help identify counterfeit textiles and clothing items?
SigNatureT DNA is forensic molecular tag that can be used to differentiate between a genuine product versus one that is not; so, it can help in preventing counterfeiting. More importantly, SigNatureT is a proven system to help keep supply chains real and safe by assuring that the quality and integrity of products made within the supply chain are pure and stay that way. By SigNatureT tagging and testing, you can trace finished goods to origin, and you can trust that your supply chain uses ethically sourced and pure raw material.
Once SigNatureT DNA tagging and testing was implemented, including the strict storage and labelling protocols, along with inspections and frequent DNA testing, the level of DNA compliance rose quickly to 100 per cent. Data were obtained by Applied DNA Sciences from commercial samples. Applied DNA Sciences works with its customers to also assure that the quality standards and protocols of storage, sampling and chain of custody is secure. Applied DNA conducts its SigNatureT DNA and FibreTyping - authentications in its ISO 17025 forensic laboratories in Stony Brook, New York.
How will you aid in cleansing the cotton supply chain with your new technology?
For cotton, we have multiple ways to cleanse the supply chain and help eliminate fibre substitution. It starts with tagging the product itself with SigNatureT DNA molecules. Prior to tagging, we also conduct FibreTyping to verify the genetic content of the fibre. Both tests are done in parallel as the product moves through the supply chain to the retail shelf. We also have the ability to quantify the blend ratio of Pima-Upland in greige goods for cotton. Finally, we have a digitalDNA system that allows for track-and-trace. It is a holistic solution that can help answer the question of where your cotton truly comes from, and where it is going.
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