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FAKE VS. REAL

Consumers’ Guide to Choosing Real/Natural Bird’s Nests:

  1. Avoid Colored Bird’s Nests

  2. All colored (i.e., blood red, yellow, etc.) bird’s nests are fake. All colored nests are ordinary bird’s nests that have been dyed, resulting in excessive nitrite levels. (http://foodsafety.suencs.com/archives/18586). Some dishonest vendors apply red dye to their bird’s nests in order to fetch higher prices. Nitrite is used as a preservative in curing meat, and to make meat redder. (http://foodsafety.suencs.com/archives/18686).

  3. Avoid bird’s nests that are uniformly snow white. The lower part of the nests is naturally darker than the body of the nests. Bird’s nests that are uniformly snow white most likely have been bleached with chemicals.

  4. Avoid snow white ‘wild/cave nests’. Wild/cave nests are naturally darker than farmed nests as they contain higher level of impurities and debris. Snow white ‘wild/cave’ nests have been bleached with chemicals.

  5. Natural texture and fibers should be visible on the nest’s surface. Natural/real bird’s nests have dense texture on its surface. The texture is made up of noticeable irregular thick and thin fibers, the denser the better. The threads of the interior body should be loose and intercrossed. All bird’s nest has to undergo feather and impurities removal process, thus creating tiny cracks in between threads. Therefore, a few cracks can be visible even on high quality bird’s nests.

  6. In contrast, fake and/or lower quality nests lack texture. Lower quality bird’s nests are glued so as to lock up the water content, creating the appearance of dry-looking surface and thicker body. The glue makes it harder for the nests to be broken. Lacking texture, glue-treated bird's nest often has smooth and glossy surface, which is the result of the bonding of the gluing material and the bird’s nest into a sheet.

  7. Natural nests have pleasant, elegant, egg like smell. Natural bird’s nest delivers a natural slight egg-like smell that intensifies after soaking. Fake bird’s nests, on the other hand, (such as those made from pig’s skin or algae) do not deliver the natural egg-like aroma of real bird’s nests. Fake nests have unpleasant odor, such as oily and/or algae smell. Lower quality nests that had undergone chemical treatment release unpleasant chemical odor after cooking.

  8. Feathers. Minimal number of feathers should be found in soaked natural bird’s nest. If there is none, chemical bleaching might have been applied on the nest.