Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, so it has some logic that the industry tries to adulterate it to obtain benefits. And it is that the retail price can exceed 6,000 euros per kg in the case of Iran's saffron, and even 40,000 euros the kg of French.
This high price is due to the fact that they are required 150,000 flowersAt least to obtain a kg of saffron.
Fraud around such an expensive product, then, has many forms. One of the most common describes it this way. Christophe Brusset in his book How can you eat that:
As for the saffron that is sold whole, in the form of filaments, such as that usually found in the open-air markets of Provence or Marrakech, it is the gross scam that consists in passing a safflower or marigold petal through saffron . The appearance may be vaguely similar, and the orange ocher color as well, but in regards to the flavor and coloring power, it has nothing to do compared to the real saffron, Crocus sativus.
A more elaborate thymus consists in coloring a filament, which can be made of silk, cotton, beard of corn or other vegetable fiber, with turmeric and / or an artificial dye. All in all, the most cunning fraudsters mix fake and authentic saffron, in addition to using artificial dyes that, in the analyzes, behave the same as natural saffron dyes.
Thus, unless it is acquired from a known brand, it is advisable to avoid ground saffron.