At the beginning of January, I started noticing something different about Spanish Saffron: the threads were all red, in varying shades, from the tip to the base, with no yellow or white at all. There were also shorter pieces, red and orange, that really didn’t really look like threads. Savy consumers know that good saffron must be all red, but since the yellow is cut off, the threads cannot be very long and all red. They are supposed to be short, “coupé”. I suspected something was not right, so I decided to send four different samples of Spanish Saffron to an American Laboratory, to test for artificial colorants. The testing follows ISO TC 34/SC7 HPLC method looks for 13 artificial colorants.
Knowing as I do the tricks of the Spanish packers, I was not surprised with the results I got. They all came back with ARTIFICIAL COLORANTS
According to the FDA all artifical colorants used in a product have to be declared on the label, and when you use any artificial chemical the product becomes artificial.
These are our findings:
Sample 1: Yellow Sunset (Yellow # 6) at 11 ppm.
Product: “THE HARVEST OF SAFFRON”, 100% Pure Spanish Saffron
Net weight 1 oz. Best before 2017 (Product of Spain)
Sample 2: Yellow Sunset (Yellow # 6) at 23 ppm.
Product: 100% PURE SPANISH SAFFRON. MANCHA SUPERIOR GRADE QUALITY (Product of Spain)
Sample 3: Yellow Sunset S (Yellow # 6) at 18 ppm, tartrazine (Yellow #5) at 1.3 ppm and Ponceau 4R at 21 ppm. (Ponceau 4R is banned by FDA to be used in food, in the US)
Don Quijote 100% PURE SPANISH SAFFRON SUPERIOR QUALITY. (Product of Spain)
Sample 4 Quinoline Yellow #10 at 1.3ppm, and Carmoisine at 0.1ppm.
100% PURE SPANISH SAFFRON. Pack: Feb. 2010 (Product of Spain)
Of course we also sent our Golden Gate Brand, Iranian saffron. The HPLC analysis of our sample determined the ABSENCE of any artificial colors.
Obviously, if they had any good saffron at all, they wouldn’t need to dye it. So thquestion is, what are they dying? Saffron is all about natural color, flavor and aroma, but what are you getting when you buy this?
The cost of our PURE saffron is $99.00 per ounce (28.35 grams). The artificial saffron from Spain ranges from $82.00 to $168.00 per oz.
If you have any technical questions, for any application, please contact me. We have been in business for more than 30 years.