Not for saffron lovers.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The sale of saffron has been banned in many EU countries
Not only is saffron banned – but there are many claims it is “poisonous” and should never have been grown in the first place, as is the case with some European countries.
The issue over the toxic colouring ingredient has provoked heated discussion around the United States, France and elsewhere in Europe.
When the European Court ruled in November 2016 that the sale of saffron in some EU countries was illegal, there was immediate outrage.
Saffron is grown in the south eastern region of India, and is used in many dishes. But in the US it is deemed too dangerous for consumption.
While it is not illegal in the UK, sales and possession are illegal unless it is on the label.
In Spain, for example, consumers buying saffron – at the centre stage of debate – are asked to present a document stating they are of legal drinking age, or they risk having their container seized and an arrest warrant issued.
So where do the benefits of saffron come from?
It provides anti-oxidant benefits in your body, and a mineral-rich source of fibre that can help prevent heart disease and weight loss.
But it also contains a number of toxins, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
So it is best to get the saffron only when you need it.
And what does the chemical analysis of the red saffron tell us about its health benefits?
Image copyright L.L.Beaumont Image caption Scientists at the University of Cambridge analyzed samples of saffron and found that it was much more toxic than the black variety
“In our recent study, we analysed samples of saffron and red saffron,” explains Professor Simon Chapman, director of toxicology at the University of Cambridge.
“We found a compound in both that was very toxic to human cells. It doesn’t mean that we know if those two colors are dangerous, but they have some striking similarities in terms of toxicity.”
It’s not just saffron that has these similarities, either.
“In our research, we also looked at the red saffron flower. That is the only flower that looks like it’s red, but it has been shown to be very toxic as a
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