Standardization of Saffron (ISO)
Genuine, high-quality saffron is hard to come by. Between the intense labor that is required to harvest and dry the red stigma from the crocus sativus bulb and the extremely specific temperamental climate that saffron needs to grow, saffron is hard to come by which leaves the industry open to fraud. Because saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, there is a lot to be gained from selling adulterated saffron.
Not long ago there were serious consequences for selling fake saffron. In the past, selling fake saffron could lead to penalties, incarceration and even execution in some parts of the world under the Safroanschou Code. However, as time progressed trade became more lenient which gave scammers more loopholes to sell fake saffron.
The reselling of fake saffron is illegal and dangerous. Fake saffron comes in many forms, from an entirely fabricated product to mixing saffron crocus with similar looking materials which are not always safe to consume. Before you buy saffron you should check that your supplier is authorised and that their saffron grade is high. You can learn how to test and recognize quality saffron by reading our blog on How To Spot Fake Saffron.
Despite the consequences weakening, modern-day measures to prevent the selling of fake or cut dried saffron still exist. These security measures are carried out by the International Standards Organization (ISO) which has implemented a uniform grading system for both powdered and dried saffron threads. The ISO 3632 certification was created specifically for the saffron industry in order to protect consumers and saffron growers. You can imagine that with all the hard work that goes into growing real saffron of the highest quality and how detrimental the fake saffron industry is for these families and businesses.
The ISO 3632 standard inspects the authenticity and quality of saffron products based on categories, labeling, packaging, and of course the quality of the saffron product itself. These inspections impact the market value of saffron as the more rare it is that the saffron quality parameters are met the higher the resale value becomes.
In order to recognise quality saffron, the ISO 3632 tests for color, flavor and aroma in a laboratory setting. Authentic saffron threads are graded form I to IV with I as the finest quality available. Fake saffron is flagged and removed from the market wherever possible. The results of these inquiries are available to the public in ISO publications and materials and the selling and reproduction of saffron requires their written acknowledgement which can be found here.
It is on this grading system that Persian (Iranian) Saffron ranks the highest consistently. This is a result of the perfect growing conditions and expert harvesting knowledge that has been passed down for generations. At YourSaffron we are proud to sell only the highest quality of Persian Saffron for your convenience all over Australia.