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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Where do bird’s nests or more specifically, SunshineNest® bird’s nests originate from?
    Bird’s nest is produced by certain species of swiftlets during mating season. To build these nests, they secrete a translucent glutinous substance from glands located beneath their tongues. This substance is then laid strand by strand to form the main parts of the nest. This process typically takes place in caves. But thanks to modern techniques, SunshineNest® bird’s nests are produced by swiftlets in swiftlet farms. These specially built structures provide more hygienic conditions, resulting in cleaner nests, from which we select the finest raw materials that meet our exacting standards and criteria.
  2. Would harvesting SunshineNest® bird’s nest be depriving the swiftlets of their home?
    No, swiftlets build nests only when it is time to mate and lay eggs, which occurs three times a year. Adult swiftlets do not sleep in the nests but perch vertically on surfaces using their specially-shaped claws. The nests are used solely to house the young swiftlets during the first 45 days until they are mature enough to fly and live independently. As the nests are only removed when empty, this does not harm the swiftlets since they will make new ones when it is time for another reproductive cycle.
  3. What’s the difference between bird’s nests from SunshineNest® swiftlet farms compared to bird’s nests sourced from caves?
    Cave nests, on the other hand, have a much higher chance of containing other impurities due to the external environmental surroundings. Also, a significant amount of “cave” nests are of the black nest swiftlet variety, which inherently contains at least 3 to 4 times more feathers. As such, to save processing time, “cave” nests are more likely to have been bleached or artificially treated to whiten the nests and camouflage the small feathers.

    Studies have shown that “cave” nests and “house” nests are equally nutritious.
  4. What makes SunshineNest® bird’s nests a superior and trusted product?
    As a fully-integrated bird’s nest producer, SunshineNest® is committed to producing high quality bird’s nests. To ensure we meet the highest food safety and quality standards, our bird’s nest products are sent for microbiological, chemical and nutritional tests and analysis on a regular basis. SunshineNest® takes pride in being the first raw clean bird’s nest producer to achieve VHM (Veterinary Health Mark) accreditation from the Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia. In addition, we have also been awarded Halal status and achieved dual-HACCP certification.
  5. Does SunshineNest® contain any artificial colour, flavour, or preservatives?
    No. SunshineNest® is committed to producing 100% pure bird’s nest without the use of any chemicals, bleaching agents, preservatives, flavourings or colourings. For more details on how SunshineNest® 100% Pure Bird’s Nest is produced, click here to visit 100% Pure, Clean, Genuine Bird’s Nest section.
  6. Why are there bird’s nests of different colours?
    For a long time, many have the mistaken belief that coloured nests (in particular red nests also known as “blood nests”) are more highly valued because they are formed by swiftlets that vomit their blood to build the nest or formed by a better species of swiftlet which consumes different kinds of water and food.

    For all types of edible bird’s nest, once the swiftlets’ transparent secretion has hardened to form the nest, the nest will take on an off-white to ivory colour. Thus, the original and natural colour of bird’s nest is in fact “colourless”.

    Where do coloured nests come from then? In every swiftlet farm or cave, a naturally-occurring but slow process called nitrification converts the ammonia released from decaying swiftlet droppings into nitrites and nitrates. Over time, as more ammonia accumulates in the nests, coupled with the ideally warm and humid environments inside swiftlet farms and caves, the level of nitrification activity will keep increasing, resulting in reddish to brownish tint in the nests. In short, if swiftlet nests are left unharvested in the swiftlet farm or cave for a considerable amount of time, their colour will eventually change to red or brown. Given that the swiftlet droppings in caves are not regularly cleared unlike in swiftlet farms/houses, this nitrification process is the main reason why cave nests tend to be yellow, brown or red, whereas house nests are almost always off-white or ivory.

    For cave nests, oxidization of minerals like copper, iron, zinc, manganese and potassium which were absorbed into the nests from the cave walls, also cause colour differences in bird’s nests. However, what is important to note is that the exposure to the external environment also means it is equally easy for cave nests to absorb heavy metals and other contaminants.

    Why take the risk with cave nests when you can safely enjoy SunshineNest® 100% pure bird’s nest from properly maintained and hygienic swiftlet farms?
  7. Why is there so much concern recently about high nitrate and nitrite levels in bird’s nests?
    Excessive nitrates and nitrites in the digestive system can reduce the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen. Because the naturally-occurring nitrification process results in nests turning red, some unscrupulous producers have exploited this in swiftlet farms by intentionally leaving swiftlet droppings uncleared and nests unharvested for several months to create more red/blood nests which traditionally fetch higher prices. Little do they realise that their actions cause excessively high levels of nitrates and nitrites in bird’s nests!

    At SunshineNest®, we only use quality bird’s nests from our own swiftlet farms and external farms which appreciate the importance of quality and employ good animal husbandry practices. Our nests are also subjected to regular lab tests to ensure nitrate and nitrite levels do not exceed the permitted level.
  8. How to identify genuine bird’ s nest?
    Bird’s nest is an expensive and nutritious product. Thus, it is important to know how to distinguish a genuine piece of bird’s nest. In the market, there are many unethical businessmen who would increase the weight of bird’s nest by adding additives like white fungus, jelly and animal skin. No two pieces of bird’s nests will be exactly identical in shape or size since bird’s nests are produced naturally by swiftlets. Genuine and pure bird’s nest should have been thoroughly cleaned without the use of any chemicals, colouring or preservatives.

    Authentic and pure bird’s nest should exhibit the following characteristics:

    Cleaned bird’s nest should still be offwhite or ivory with subtle and natural variations in shade, rather than a consistent white colour throughout which is indicative of bleaching techniques being used.
    Appearance & Texture
    The outer part of the nest consists of longer, bigger filaments whereas the inner part has finer, shorter filaments. Cleaned bird’s nest should also be properly dried until filaments and strands become quite fragile and break off easily. This ensures maximum value per gram and prevents microbial growth and natural formation of nitrites.
    After Soaking
    Authentic and pure bird’s nests are able to absorb water up to at least 8 times its own weight. In particular, the longer and bigger filaments on the outer part will expand significantly after soaking in water for 30 minutes. A faint scent of albumin (egg-white) smell will also start to emanate.
    After Cooking
    After double-boiling for approximately 1 hour, the smaller filaments would have dissolved into the water, whilst the less-soluble bigger filaments will give bird’s nest its signature fibrous taste and appearance.
  9. What is the nutritional composition of SunshineNest® bird’s nest?

    50 - 60%
    10 - 12%
    0.5 - 0.7%
    < 0.2%
    12 - 14%

    For more details on health benefits of consuming SunshineNest bird’s nest, click here to visit our Health Benefits section.
  10. How often can I consume SunshineNest® bird’s nest?
    SunshineNest® bird’s nest can be consumed daily as the main component of this delicacy is protein. An average person can consume anything between 3g to 5g of dry bird’s nest for optimal absorption of its nutritional value. Any excess consumption will be discharged by the body.
  11. How do I store SunshineNest® bird’s nest?
    At SunshineNest®, our cold-air drying methods ensure that maximum dryness is achieved for each and every piece of bird’s nest, before the nests are individually packaged using food-grade film. This creates a hygienic and convenient environment which allows SunshineNest® bird’s nest to be stored at room temperature for at least 3 years without any worries.We also recommend storage in a dry area away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration is only necessary once the bird’s nest has been cooked.