There are several different types of fraud: ones is selling products that aren’t saffron and another is selling saffron as though it is produced in one country and not in another.
Frauds often sell the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) as saffron. This is because it’s quite similar to saffron but it is a thistle-like plant, whose flowers are yellow orange. The giveaway of this plant is that it doesn’t smell like saffron at all. Furthermore there is Turmeric (Curcuma longa), known as the saffron of the Indies, belonging to the family Zingiberaceae (Ginger); from the rhizome of turmeric you get the yellow turmeric powder, a spice widely used in Indian and Asian cuisine in general, and curcumin, a yellow substance worked in the laundry and in chemistry. At last it should definitely not be confused with the colchicum (Colchicum autumnal). This is a poisonous plant whose flowers are like the crocus.
Other frequent falsification consists in adding to the stigmas of the crocus flower fragments from other species. Mixing real saffron with fake makes it harder to notice for those who have little knowledge about it. ￼
There are a few key ways to tell real saffron from fake: taste, smell, look and price.
We will provide ways to detect fraud on the site as well as in future posts