Blood Nest Is Very Safe To Be Consumed
On June 3rd 2011, there was a report from Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau that some of blood nest in the market were detected with nitrite. This report however were not entirely correct, though it has caused a great impact in the bird nest industry.
The test done by Guangdong inspection were not yet clear whether was tested in raw or after proper preparation. Because all kinds of bird nest are never meant to be served in raw. There are several proper methods to prepare this delightful dishes that has been for hundred years among the chinese people such as “soaking in water for quite some time”. In my opinion, if the test was done in a proper preparation, it would be very safe to be consumed.
I must admit there are maybe some small portion of dishonest traders create the red colors from the chemical, and it is harmful to the industry; nevertheless we shouldn’t generalize that all blood nest are produced by chemical reaction, in fact most of the product in market are NOT. The actual blood nest in the beginning happens naturally in caves of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. If we look again into the bird nest market in Hongkong and China these days, we can find a lot of original blood bird nest from the Thailand caves. These days this natural process also occurs naturally in bird nest houses.
The blood nest is actually formed by the fermentation process of the white nest, which also come from the same species Collocalia fuchipaga.
This fermentation occurs in both houses and caves because of the suitable “microclimate” and substance exist in the room/cave. We have to be know that the natural fermentation process inevitably would also allow the formation of by-product Nitrite (NO2¯) in the blood nest. But notice here that it is not purposely added to the white nest to change the color become red. If anyone tries about to put nitrite into white nest, it will certainly not change into red.
Therefore, we need to get the fact straight first in order to protect our customers yet not mislead them. Nitrite is a common substance which is highly soluble in its nature. Nitrite in blood nest can be easily washed because it not in the fibers; For example we can soak the nest into 1 liter of water for 2 hours and the nitrite content already fall so drastically below the consumable level. This preparation practice is done anyway by the consumer regardless there is nitrite or no nitrite in the nest.
In conclusion, based on the facts and some research done and tested by specialised scientists, as long as it is served with proper preparation the blood nest is very SAFE to be consumed.