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Applied DNA Extends Authentication Technology to New Raw Materials

The Stony Brook, N.Y.-based provider of DNA-based product genotyping, authentication solutions and anti-counterfeiting and anti-theft technology, has introduced several new programs of late and more are in the works.

“Our core message is everything around the letter T – T is for textiles, and it also represents traceability, transparency and trust,” Applied DNA vice president of textile sales MeiLin Wan, said.

Applied DNA has taken this technology from cotton to synthetics and has now added leather. Next on the drawing board, the company is looking to add down and feathers, as well as silk, cashmere and wool.

The new service platform known as CertainT provides integrated, streamlined access to Applied DNA’s end-to-end products and services for confirming a product’s authenticity and origin.

The CertainT platform includes SigNature molecular certificate tagging, forensic testing, quality assurance services and traceability reporting as products are processed from raw fibers or materials to finished goods. The CertainT Platform consolidates proven individual elements of Applied DNA’s portfolio with a business-specific lens.

The CertainT Platform will be first incorporated into customer products in textile, apparel, footwear, pharmaceuticals, personal care and agricultural-related products. The CertainT emblem will appear in marketing materials and product labeling.

Traceability with trust is how Applied DNA’s technologies are transforming the way businesses connect with consumers. The power of molecular certificates, the core of the CertainT platform, has been proven with more than 150 million pounds of cotton tagged and over $1 million of adulterated fabric interdicted in the supply chain.

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“We want to help the consumer recognize CertainT, which could be used on any product that we tag, but we’re starting with textiles,” Wan said in an interview. “We started with cotton, and then rolled out synthetics and now leather. Including consulting, it’s sort of provides a one-stop shop for all the traceability services that we offer. The first company using it is Loftex, a bath and beach towel manufacturer that has a new series of towels that perform better, dry quickly and use less water to wash.”

Loftex CEO Charles Gaenslen said the line is a cotton and polyester blend, with the polyester derived from post-consumer recycled PET.

“We call it our fusion fiber collection,” he said. “When we saw the CertainT rollout, everything clicked because it’s the direction we were going. There’s a sustainability story within the collection, but the whole collection was built to achieve performance.”

Gaenslen said the agreement with Applied DNA was worked out quickly and was revealed during market week at the end of March.

“When we unveiled this in front of our customers it completely validated our thought process,” he said. “The millennial consumer is the largest sector of the population now and are starting to by houses and dominate new home purchases in the U.S. They are looking for individuality and products that set them apart, and also for products that reflects their various values and one of those values is sustainability.”

As one of the largest private label suppliers in the sector, Loftex plans to work with its retail customers to tell the story of its collection and CertainT connection through point of sale materials and hang tags.

“We’re working to try to help manufacturers win more business by providing unique differentiation in the market,” Wan said.

This month, the company’s SigNature T textile molecular tag technology bowed in Bed Bath & Beyond’s Wamsutta line, featuring PimaCott. SigNature T verifies that the Wamsutta home fashions products sold to consumers are pure Pima cotton, grown in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Products include comforters, pillow cases and shams.

SigNature T is a botanical-based molecular tag that attaches tenaciously to the cotton fiber, ensuring reliable, secure traceability throughout the entire manufacturing process in the U.S. and abroad. Cotton is indelibly tagged with SigNature T at the gin in the U.S. and then verified throughout the supply chain.

In a survey conducted in December, 30 percent of Americans said they would completely stop purchasing a brand if the brand made a false product claim about a bedding or clothing being 100 percent organic, 100 percent pima cotton, or other claim of this type. Another 61 percent said if they found a brand made their bedding or clothing products from raw cotton that was picked by child or forced laborers, they would no longer purchase the brand.

“We are pleased to help bring the new standard in Pima cotton purity to the marketplace, with a technology that guarantees product authenticity,” said Wan. “SigNature T is the solution that provides certainty not only for consumers, but also for retailers. In addition, U.S. farmers that grow cotton now have the knowledge that their cotton is protected throughout the supply chain.”

Applied DNA also recently signed a Research Agreement with BLC Leather Technology Centre to provide comprehensive and verifiable leather traceability, from farm to finished products.

Several global brands have contracted to sponsor the research project, including Clarks and Puma and three other international brands. The research project will demonstrate Applied DNA platforms across the entire supply chain of leather, from farm to shop.

“Just like textiles, we’re tracing the supply chain from source to shelf,” Wan added.