Two multinational certification agencies operating in India -- CUC and Ecocert SA India -- have been penalised for allegedly violating certification norms relating to organic cotton.
"The Certification Body (Ecocert) has not verified even once the source of seeds and tested in any laboratory for confirming the presence of GMO (Bt Cotton). It is clear that due diligence has not been applied by Ecocert," said an order issued by the National Accreditation Body, which also imposed a fine of Rs 7.5 lakh on the company.
Aurangabad-based Ecocert SA India is a subsidiary of French certifying major Ecocert SA.
In a separate order against the Indian arm of Holland-based Control Union Certifications (CUC), the accreditation body said, "The commercial seeds available in the market are Bt cotton or are treated with chemicals. The farmers were supplied with the treated seeds by traders through NGOs.
"CUC has not cared to diligently verify the records of farmers."
The National Accreditation Body has imposed a penalty of Rs 15 lakh on CUC.
When contacted, Ecocert India's country representative Selvam Daniel denied that penalty has been imposed for certifying Bt cotton as organic cotton. CUC, on other hand, did not respond to e-mail queries.