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Methodologies for implementing international standards for Saffron purity and quality


Saffron is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. The greatest saffron producers are Greece, Spain, Turkey, Iran, India, and Morocco. The largest saffron importers are Germany, Italy, U.S.A. Sweden, Switzerland, U.K. and France. In the last years the fraudulent practices have proliferated in part due to the high price and to the lack of the technological methodologies available to detect them. In fact, the ISO/TS 3632 (2003) the norm that regulates the purity and quality of saffron does not take in account of reliable analytical techniques to detect basic colorants and natural pigments to combat the fraud and to establish objective criteria of quality and food safety. One of the most common fraudulent practices is the use of synthetic colorants and natural pigments. Those products are used in small amounts to dye saffron threads or other plants.

Therefore, the Scientific and Technological problem to overcome is the development of cost effective, easy-to-use and reliable methodologies for:
1) the identification of fraudulent agents in saffron: synthetic colorants and natural pigments;
2) the standardisation of the quality and food safety criteria of saffron.

The IAGs and SMEs aim to develop new methodologies to modify the current ISO norm int roducing standards and reliable procedures to fight against the fraud. For this purpose, seven European saffron IAGs and nine SMEs are directly involved in the project. IAGs and SMEs are supported by four RTD performer experts in saffron and 8 independent certified laboratories for the validation of the methodologies.

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Participants (19)