saffron traceability

Why is Saffron Traceability Important?

Product traceability explains when and where a product is produced and who was involved in the process. Product traceability essentially provides a way to monitor the movement of a product in a supply chain, from providing raw materials for production, to consumption and disposal. Product traceability has become popular in different industries. Saffron industry, however, has fallen behind of this trend. This blog aims to provide an introduction to saffron traceability and explains how blockchain can improve track of Iranian saffron market.

Traceability for agriculture goods

Traceability of Agriculture products is becoming more and more important as more people around the world demand proof of the food safety, quality, supply chain and the rights and benefits of labor force involved in the process. Agriculture and food traceability can ensure the end user where and how a product is produced and whether it is organic or contains chemical properties too.

As a result, the traceability system of many products has been improved, in recent years. The development and improvement of traceability systems occur for a number of reasons, mentioned in below lines:

Consumer trust:

Traceability programs provide more detailed information on how it has been moved through the supply and value chain. Such programs provide organized reports, allowing them to trust in the safety and quality of the product.

Improve productivity and profits

Use of traceability programs help to detect the areas of weakness and strengths through supply chain. This will lead into improvement in areas of weakness, over time.

Decrease waste of product

As mentioned above, traceability program helps to deal with problem areas of the supply chain. Therefore, in case of any problem, such as contamination in product, that specific product line, batch, farmer, region of cultivation, or whatever the issue stems from can be detected and dealt with. This way, you don’t have to pull all of your products.

What is saffron traceability and why is it important?

A traceability end-to-end process makes sure that product goes through authorized supply channels and will inform us about value added through each stage of life cycle of products.

ISO 9000:2005 states that traceability can act as a proof of material origin, the history of process and distribution channels.

With respect to this, traceability of agriculture products has gained much importance as they are directly related to human health. They are particularly important in saffron industry as there is a high risk of supplying fake saffron from profiteers in the market. As saffron is the most expensive herb in the world, running a traceability system to track the end-to-end journey of saffron is becoming a necessity in this industry.

Saffron origin is another crucial topic that should be carefully considered before complete implementation of the product traceability system. That is, Iranian, Afghan, Indian or Moroccan saffron should be sold and registered by its real origin or identity. As the “Geographical Indication for Iranian Saffron” post suggests, due to different cultivation method, and climate condition of different regions, the final saffron product will have unique chemical properties and appearance. Thus, in addition to the above-mentioned benefits, the implementation of saffron traceability system will help to track the ID-based saffron.

The idea of traceability in different standard system:

Different standard systems require traceability of the product, while some consider them as an optional factor. Below, we have gathered a brief description of standard systems, according to which product traceability is mandatory and must be present:

Traceability in ISO 9000 and 9001:

As mentioned above, ISO 9000 specifies “Traceability is the ability to trace the history, application, use and location of an item or its characteristics through recorded identification data.”

Moreover, ISO 9001, as the most important standard system in ISO 9000 family, specifies traceability in two parts: measurement and identification. ISO 9001 highlights that the products should identify products using some representation format, including serial numbers and lot numbers, or labels and RF tags as transfer mediums.

According to ISO 9001:2008 Clause 7.5.3, a company should control and record the unique identity of the product, monitor and measure requirements at all stages of production.

Saffron Traceability in iso 22000

Traceability in ISO 22000:

ISO 22000 also implies that companies and producers should update the information and documents, and establish a traceability system that helps to identify the product lots and specify how they are related to batches and raw materials, processing and delivery stages.

ISO 22005: 2007 requires food chain organization to consider below aspects in the design of a traceability system:

  1. Identification of objectives of the traceability system
  2. Identify the regulatory and policy requirement of local, regional, national, and international regulations
  3. Identification of relevant products, or ingredients
  4. The position of the organization in supply/food chain
  5. Identification of material flow
  6. Identification of information requirements
  7. Establishment of procedures including product definition, lot definition, and identification, documentation of flow of material data man
  8. Determination of documentation
  9. Coordination in the food chain to identify the prior sources and subsequent recipients.
Saffron Traceability in iso 14001

Traceability in ISO 14001:

According to ISO 14001, the presence of traceability system is a mandatory requirement, therefore, documentation must show the process and how they are linked in the value chain.



Saffron Traceability in IFS

FSSC, IFS, and BRC standard systems also requires the producers and suppliers to develop a traceability system to identify the product lots, batches, from production to the delivery of goods to the end-users. 



Use of blockchain in product traceability programs:

Saffron Traceability and blockchain

Blockchain is a public distributed ledger or database, which has disrupted the supply chain management systems by enabling product traceability solutions. Blockchain is a unique solution to the supply chain management challenges, as it is not possible to change one record in one of the nodes. In case someone attempts to do that, the other nodes will notify and reject the change through the system.

Blockchain has revolutionized many industries, just like other technologies, trying to solve trust issues, reduce costs, while increasing the overall revenue.

For example, supply chain management became super difficult as it has become global. Companies buy a product from east and transfer to west, from people who they don’t know. This has raised challenges to the legitimacy and purity of the product. To solve the issues of trust, one party should assign an assessor or auditors to make sure about the product, material and ingredient. This way is totally traditional, non-digitalized and expensive.

Such traditional way has lost its efficiency, with the emergence of new technologies such as blockchain. The traditional ways store data in a single point. This increases the risks of data being stolen or duplicated. Also, the new technologies such as blockchain give access to other participants, depending on their roles.

Blockchain is a perfect solution to build track and trace applications, through which multiple parties transact via peer-to-peer network. Using blockchain, there is no need to have a central authority to verify transactions. All network participants have access to a shared ledger, which records all transactions immutably and cryptographically.

Using blockchain track and trace programs, companies, or supply chain players can document their production updates to a shared ledger. This shared ledger can act as a global source to check the product status and location at any time. The use of blockchain as a track and trace application will reduce the risks of delays, waste, compliance violations, and counterfeit goods.

Imagine using a blockchain track and trace application for saffron industry. This way, the risks of buying manipulated, fake product is minimized. Even in case of receiving a low-quality product, it is easily traceable to see the sources of supply.

SunLand, as an active company in saffron industry and a player of multiple levels in saffron value chain, is planning to develop and implement a blockchain-based track and trace system to improve the status of the Iranian saffron in the world. Currently, this plan is in development phase under Iran ministry of agriculture supervision.

We welcome your cooperation in this project, if you are an active startup in AI or blockchain solutions, willing to participate in this project. in this case, you can contact us via

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