Wal-Mart sold products labelled 100% Egyptian Cotton

Wal-Mart sold products labelled '100% Egyptian Cotton'

A lawsuit has been filed against retail giant Wal-Mart over the sale of products falsely labelled '100% Egyptian Cotton' from Indian textile company Welspun, years after it first suspected they may not have been made from the premium fibre. 

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week by Dorothy Monahan of Michigan in the US District Court in Manhattan, claims the US retail giant questioned the fibre content of Welspun India's products as long ago as 2008, but only stopped sales two months ago following a similar move by Target. 

In August, an investigation by Target found Welspun was using inferior and less expensive cotton fibres in many of its luxury bed linens labelled '100% Egyptian Cotton.' Target subsequently ended its relationship with Welspun, with the Indian company admitting: "Without any ambiguity, the fault is on our side."

The lawsuit claims that Wal-Mart continued to sell bed linens produced by Welspun, only discontinuing the lines after Target's announcement and "a short investigation." 

"Because of Wal-Mart's conduct, consumers who purchased Welspun bed linens at Wal-Mart overpaid for an inferior product. This action seeks full recompense for consumers," the lawsuit states. 

The plaintiff, Monahan, says she overpaid for items she thought were made of Egyptian cotton, and accuses Wal-Mart of violating US laws governing textile fibre labelling and advertising. The lawsuit seeks damages for all consumers who have bought bed linens at Wal-Mart made by Welspun and labelled as '100% Egyptian Cotton.'

The lawsuit highlights the massive challenges the industry still faces when it comes to transparency and traceability across global supply chains.

Cotton supply chain transparency an ongoing challenge