Turkey has introduced new formal criteria for the sweet and syrupy dessert delight baklava, aiming to standardize production of the trademark dessert that is often manufactured with substandard ingredients to cut costs.
The Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) said on Feb. 19 that it had adopted a list of criteria that should be met by Turkish baklava producers in order to get official approval from the country’s standardization watchdog.
According to the new rules, Turkish baklava “should have its trademark color [golden yellow] and look, its syrup and intensity should not be sharp, it shouldn’t cause a sore throat, and the minimum height of each piece should be 35 millimeters.”
The statement released by the TSE warned that some producers have begun to cheat clients in recent years by using counterfeit ingredients. It said it had become common for manufacturers to use peas instead of pistachios, dried or burned pastry instead of walnuts, vegetable or trans oils instead of butter, and corn syrup instead of white sugar. It did, however, also note that the preparation and ingredients of baklava often varied between Turkey’s regions.
Baklava is the subject of one of the hottest ongoing geographical indication rights fights between Turkey and its Balkan neighbors.