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how to detect counterfeit saffron

Fraud in saffron / how to detect counterfeit saffron

Learn more about Counterfeit saffron  and how to detect counterfeit saffron

What are the characteristics of the Iranian national standard for high quality saffron?

One of the cases of fraud in saffron is the use of chemical and artificial dyes to dye saffron, which is not allowed in the saffron industry. The most common of these colors are: Tartrazine, Orange II, Amaranth, Sunset Yellow, Ponceau 4R, Kinolin Yellow.Another counterfeit is the sale of low-weight saffron. Other cases of  counterfeiting include adding salt and sugar to saffron, which is done to increase its weight. One way to detect saffron is to taste it.

Fraud in saffron / how to detect counterfeit saffron
Fraud in saffron / how to detect counterfeit saffron

It should have a bitter taste, but if it tastes sweet or salty, it means that they have added some salt or sugar to it. The most important counterfeit that is done as saffron is the coloredflowers  , which is similar to saffron and can create a yellow color. Saffron, especially in powder form, can be associated with more counterfeits.

There are several ways to detect counterfeit saffron. Of course, the definitive diagnosis can only be made in well-equipped and formal laboratories, but using simple methods can to some extent determine the authenticity of saffron or fraud in it. The two simple methods are as follows:

The two simple methods to detect fraud in saffron

Method 1: Add a few milligrams of saffron powder, two or three drops of concentrated sulfuric acid in a glass jar. In this case, saffron first turns reddish brown and after a while, turns reddish purple. This experiment is not entirely specific and is related to materials, such as saffron, which have yellow or orange colors.

Method 2: Put a few milligrams of saffron powder in a glass jar and add a drop of phosphomolibdic / sulfuric acid to it and rub a little. After that, we put the mixture under a microscope and see 100 magnification. After a maximum of one minute, the pieces of powder turn blue and a halo of blue surrounds the pieces.

More than 95% of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran, so it would be appropriate to look at the Iranian standard in this regard.According to the national standard, the following items should not be seen in high quality saffron:

Unwanted physical things include the presence of thread, sand and gravel, insects or dead or live mites, fungi and molds that can be seen with the naked eye, and the contamination of rodents and birds.Inadequate chemical conditions include high humidity, total ash, insoluble acid ash and cold water soluble extract, bitterness, safranal, color strength, total nitrogen, crude fiber, mass of foreign matter, mass of flower debris.

In general, despite the many cases of  fraud in saffron and its difficult diagnosis for the public, it is recommended that you obtain saffron that has legal and official licenses.

read more about saffron:

Applications of saffron in food industry

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