Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Need to Focus on Crocus

By Susanne Kuehne
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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

$900,000 worth of adulterated saffron seized in international operation.

Food fraud, crocus, saffron
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

Many food adulteration cases revolve around spices, since the profits can be significant. Genuine saffron is the world’s most costly spice by weight. Often, fraudsters blend real saffron threads, which are derived from saffron crocus flowers, with cheaper fibers from other plants. Saffron costs up to $9 per gram and is therefore a spice that is very tempting for fraudsters to adulterate. Product sold in the UK led to the seizure of 90 kg of fake saffron in Spain and subsequent arrest of two fraudsters.


  1. Spirit FM News Team (August 6, 2019). “Fake saffron found in West Sussex sparks international investigation”. Spirit FM News.

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Susanne Kuehne, Decernis

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