Consumer’s Perception on the Quality of Controversial Contents in Edible Bird’s Nest Products

Nurul Nabilah Huda Mohamad Shukri, Nolila Mohd Nawi, Amin Mahir Abdullah, Norsida Man


Edible bird’s nest (EBN) originates from South East Asia and has become the most popular food delicacy among Chinese people. The price for raw and clean EBN are around RM 4,000 and RM 8,000 per kg, respectively. Due to the high market value of EBN and low maintenance cost, people ventures and invest in bird’s nest industry. The nesting house resembles the cave is built to attract swiftlets to roost and nest in it in order to meet the world’s growing demand. Out of the blue, in 2011, the EBN’s price falls half from its original price from RM 4,000 to RM 2,000. Nitrate found in raw or unclean EBN is one of the reason price plunges and the public also worried about counterfeit EBN that made from unclear substances. Thus, this review paper aims to highlight the nutritional properties in EBN that give medicinal benefits to consumers and the adulterant in EBN to increase the property contents with the dangerous mechanism by some irresponsible producers to obtain better profit which can threatening public’s health. In relation, these matters may influence consumer’s perception on EBN contents that could harm this industry. For that reason, scientific studies determined ways of handling EBN from scratch and distinguished the adulterant in EBN to reduce consumer anxiety was also discussed. Strict standard operation procedure enforces by the Malaysian Ministry of Health to farmers and producers are required, so that Malaysia EBN would appeal to the China market. Latter it can yield a good result and the price of EBN will slowly increase.


Adulteration, compositional properties, contamination, edible bird’s nest, market value, medicinal benefits, swiftlets

Full Text:



Amr, A., & Hadidi, N. (2001). Effect of Cultivar and Harvest Date on Nitrate (NO3) and Nitrite (NO2) Content of Selected Vegetables Grown Under Open Field and Greenhouse Conditions in Jordan. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 14(1), 59-67.

Babji, A. S., Yusop, S. M., & Ghassem, M. (2011, June). A review of research developments of Malaysian’s biodiversified resources. Proceedings of 12th ASEAN Food Conference (pp. 115-122).

Bakir, F., Rustam, H., Tikriti, S., Al-Damluji, S. F., & Shihristani, H. (1980). Clinical and epidemiological aspects of methylmercury poisoning. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 56(651), 1-10.

Bhattacharyya, M. H., Whelton, B. D., Stern, P. H., & Peterson, D. P. (1988). Cadmium accelerates bone loss in ovariectomized mice and fetal rat limb bones in culture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 85(22), 8761-8765.

Cao, Y., Xu, J., Wang, J. F., You, Y. Y., & Xue, C. H. (2012). Studies on Immunomodulation Function of Indonesia White Edible Bird’s Nest on Hypoimmune Mice. Acta Nutr Sin, 2, 168-171.

Chan, G. K., Zheng, K. Y., Zhu, K. Y., Dong, T. T. &Tsim, K. W. (2013). Determination of Free N-acetylneuraminic Acid in Edible Bird Nest: A Development of Chemical Marker for Quality Control. Journal of Ethnobiology and Traditional Medicine, 120, 620-628.

Chantler, P., Wells, D. R., & Schuchmann, K. L. (1999). Family apodidae (swifts). Handbook of the birds of the world, 5, 388-457.

Chau, Q., Cantor, S. B., Caramel, E., Hicks, M., Kurtin, D., Grover, T., & Elting, L. S. (2003). Cost-effectiveness of the bird's nest filter for preventing pulmonary embolism among patients with malignant brain tumors and deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. Supportive care in cancer,11(12), 795-799.

Chen, C., Chen, C., Wu, M., & Kuo, T. (1992). Cancer potential in liver, lung, bladder and kidney due to ingested inorganic arsenic in drinking water. Br J Cancer British Journal of Cancer, 66(5), 888-892.

Chen, J. X. J., Lim, P. K. C., Wong, S. F., & Mak, J. W. (2014). Determination of the Presence and Levels of Heavy Metals and Other Elements in Raw and Commercial Edible Bird Nests. Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, 20(3).

Comly, H. H. (1987). Cyanosis in Infants Caused by Nitrates in Well Water. JAMA JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 257(20), 2788.

Debes, F., Budtz-J繪rgensen, E., Weihe, P., White, R. F., & Grandjean, P. (2006). Impact of prenatal methylmercury exposure on neurobehavioral function at age 14 years. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 28(3), 363-375.

De Roos, A. J., Ward, M. H., Lynch, C. F., & Cantor, K. P. (2003). Nitrate in public water supplies and the risk of colon and rectum cancers. Epidemiology, 14(6), 640-649.

De Martin, S., & Restani, P. (2003). Determination of nitrates by a novel ion chromatographic method: occurrence in leafy vegetables (organic and conventional) and exposure assessment for Italian consumers. Food Additives & Contaminants, 20(9), 787-792.

Dinçkaya, E., Akyilmaz, E., Sezgintürk, M. K., & Ertaş, F. N. (2010). Sensitive Nitrate Determination in Water And Meat Samples By Amperometric Biosensor. Preparative Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 40(2), 119-128.

Goh, D. L. M., Chua, K. Y., Chew, F. T., Liang, R. C. M. Y., Seow, T. K., Ou, K. L., Yi, F. C., & Lee, B. W. (2001). Immunochemical characterization of edible bird’s nest allergens. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 107(6), 1082-1088.

Guo, C. T., Takahashi, T., Bukawa, W., Takahashi, N., Yagi, H., Kato, K., Hidari, K. J., Miyamoto, D., Suzuki, T., & Suzuki, Y. (2006). Edible bird's nest extract inhibits influenza virus infection. Antiviral research, 70(3), 140-146.

Guo, L., Wu, Y., Liu, M., Wang, B., Ge, Y., & Chen, Y. (2014). Authentication of Edible Bird's nests by TaqMan-based real-time PCR. Food Control, 44, 220-226.

Grandjean, P., Weihe, P., White, R. F., Debes, F., Araki, S., Yokoyama, K., Murata, K., Sorensen, N., Dahl, R., & Jørgensen, P. J. (1997). Cognitive Deficit in 7-year-old Children with Prenatal Exposure to Methylmercury. Neurotoxicology and teratology, 19(6), 417-428.

Ha, E., Basu, N., Bose-O’Reilly, S., Dórea, J. G., Mcsorley, E., Sakamoto, M., & Chan, H. M. (2016). Current Progress on Understanding the Impact of Mercury on Human Health. Environmental Research.

Haghani, A., Mehrbod, P., Safi, N., Aminuddin, N. A., Bahadoran, A., Omar, A. R., & Ideris, A. (2016). In Vitro and in Vivo Mechanism of Immunomodulatory and Antiviral Activity of Edible Bird's Nest (EBN) against Influenza A Virus (IAV) Infection. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 185, 327-340.

Hamzah, Z., Ibrahim, N. H., Sarojini, J., Hussin, K., Hashim, O., & Lee, B. B. (2013). Nutritional Properties of Edible Bird Nest. Journal of Asian Scientific Research, 3(6), 600.

Harada, M. (1995). Minamata Disease: Methylmercury Poisoning in Japan Caused by Environmental Pollution. Critical reviews in toxicology, 25(1), 1-24.

Herbert, V. (1987). Recommended dietary intakes (RDI) of iron in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 45(4), 679-686.

Honda, R., Tsuritani, I., Noborisaka, Y., Suzuki, H., Ishizaki, M., & Yamada, Y. (2003). Urinary Cadmium Excretion is Correlated with Calcaneal Bone Mass in Japanese Women Living in an Urban Area. Environmental research, 91(2), 63-70.

Hu, Q., Li, G., Yao, H., He, S., Li, H., Liu, S., Wu, Y., & Lai, X. (2015). Edible Bird's Nest Enhances Antioxidant Capacity and Increases Lifespan in Drosophila Melanogaster. Cellular and molecular biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France), 62(4), 116-122.

Huster, D., Purnat, T. D., Burkhead, J. L., Ralle, M., Fiehn, O., Stuckert, F., Olson, N. E., Teupser, D., & Lutsenko, S. (2007). High Copper Selectively Alters Lipid Metabolism and Cell Cycle Machinery in the Mouse Model of Wilson Disease. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 282(11), 8343-8355.

Jarup, L. (2003). Hazards of heavy metal contamination. British medical bulletin, 68(1), 167-182.

Jedrychowski, W., Jankowski, J., Flak, E., Skarupa, A., Mroz, E., Sochacka–Tatara, E., Lisowska–Miszczyk, I.,Szpanowska–Wohn, A., Rauh, V., Skolicki, Z., Kaim, I., & Perera, F. (2006). Effects of prenatal exposure to mercury on cognitive and psychomotor function in one-year-old infants: epidemiologic cohort study in Poland. Annals of epidemiology, 16(6), 439-447.

Kathan, R. H., & Weeks, D. I. (1969). Structure Studies of collocalia mucoid: I. Carbohydrate and amino acid composition. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 134(2), 572-576.

Kamarudin, M.I., 2012. Prevalence of nitrite (No2) and nitrate (No3) in edible bird nest harvested from swiftlet ranches in the state of Johor.

Kauppinen‐Räisänen, H. (2014). Strategic use of colour in brand packaging. Packaging Technology and Science, 27(8), 663-676.

Koller, K., Brown, T., Spurgeon, A., & Levy, L. (2004). Recent developments in low-level lead exposure and intellectual impairment in children. Environmental health perspectives, 987-994.

Kopp, S. J., Glonek, T., Perry, H. M., Erlanger, M., & Perry, E. F. (1982). Cardiovascular actions of cadmium at environmental exposure levels. Science, 217(4562), 837-839.

Langham, N. (1980). Breeding biology of the edible nest swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus. Ibis, 122(4), 447-461.

Lau, A. S., & Melville, D. S. (1994). International trade in Swiftlet nests with special reference to Hong Kong. Traffic International.

Law, C. L., Ong, S. P., & Yong, L. C. (2011). Minimizing colour change of cleaned edible bird’s nest by applying appropriate processing strategy.

Lim, C. K., Cranbrook, G. G. H., Cranbrook, G. G. H., Zoologiste, G. B., Cranbrook, G. G. H., & Zoologist, G. B. (2002). Swiftlets of Borneo: builders of edible nests. Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Lin, J. R., Zhou, H., Lai, X. P., Hou, Y., Xian, X. M., Chen, J. N., ... & Dong, Y. (2009). Genetic identification of edible birds’ nest based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. Food Research International, 42(8), 1053-1061.

Luong, K. V. Q., & Nguyen, L. T. H. (1999). Organic arsenic intoxication from bird's nest soup. The American journal of the medical sciences, 317(4), 269-271.

Malaysia Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Annual Report 2013. Retrieved from pdf.

Marni, S., Marzura, M. R., Norzela, A. M., Khairunnisak, M., Bing, C. H., & Eddy, A. A. (2014). Preliminary Study on Free Sialic Acid Content of Edible Bird Nest from Johor and Kelantan. EMalaysian Journal of Veterinary Research, 5(1), 9-14.

Marcone, M. F. (2005). Characterization of the edible bird’s nest the “Caviar of the East”. Food research international, 38(10), 1125-1134.

Matsukawa, N., Matsumoto, M., Bukawa, W., Chiji, H., Nakayama, K., Hara, H., & Tsukahara, T. (2011). Improvement of Bone Strength and Dermal Thickness Due to Dietary Edible Bird’s Nest Extract in Ovariectomized Rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 75(3), 590-592.

Morales-Suarez-Varela, M. M., Llopis-Gonzalez, A., & Tejerizo-Perez, M. L. (1995). Impact of nitrates in drinking water on cancer mortality in Valencia, Spain. European journal of epidemiology, 11(1), 15-21.

Norhayati, M. K., Azman, O., & Nazaimoon, W. M. (2010). Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird's Nest. Malaysian journal of nutrition, 16(3).

Prasad, A. S. (Ed.). (2013). Essential and Toxic Element: Trace Elements in Human Health and Disease. Elsevier.

Quek, M. C., Chin, N. L., Yusof, Y. A., Tan, S. W., & Law, C. L. (2015). Preliminary nitrite, nitrate and colour analysis of Malaysian edible bird’s nest. Information Processing in Agriculture, 2(1), 1-5.

Rashed, A. A., & Nazaimoon, W. W. (2010). Effect of edible bird’s nest on Caco-2 cell proliferation. Journol of Food Tech, 8(3), 126-130.

Roh, K. B., Lee, J., Kim, Y. S., Park, J., Kim, J. H., Lee, J., & Park, D. (2011). Mechanisms of edible bird's nest extract-induced proliferation of human adipose-derived stem cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.

Rooney, S. (2000, December 19). The deadly delicacy / allure of bird’s nest soup endangers swiftlet colonies and drives violent clashes. SfGate. Retrieved from 34.php

Rosen, J. F. (1995). Adverse health effects of lead at low exposure levels: trends in the management of childhood lead poisoning. Toxicology, 97(1), 11-17.

Rundh, B., (2009). Packaging design creating competitive advantage with product packaging. British Food Journal, 111 (9), 988-1002.

Saengkrajang, W., Matan, N., & Matan, N. (2013). Nutritional composition of the farmed edible bird's nest (Collocalia fuciphaga) in Thailand. Journal of food composition and analysis, 31(1), 41-45.

Saouter, E., Hare, L., Campbell, P. G. C., Boudou, A., & Ribeyre, F. (1993). Mercury accumulation in the burrowing mayfly hexagenia rigida (ephemeroptera) exposed to CH3 HgCl or HgCl2 in water and sediment.Water Research, 27(6), 1041-1048.

Sharifuddin, J., Ramalingam, L., Mohamed, Z., & Rezai, G. (2014). Factors affecting intention to purchase edible bird’s nest products: the case of Malaysian consumers. Journal of Food Products Marketing, 20(sup1), 75-84.

Spink, J., & Moyer, D. C. (2011). Defining the public health threat of food fraud. Journal of Food Science, 76(9), R157-R163.

Tangahu, B. V., Sheikh Abdullah, S. R., Basri, H., Idris, M., Anuar, N., & Mukhlisin, M. (2011). A review on heavy metals (As, Pb, and Hg) uptake by plants through phytoremediation. International Journal of Chemical Engineering, 2011.

Thomassen, H. A., Wiersema, A. T., de Bakker, M. A., de Knijff, P., Hetebrij, E., & Povel, G. D. E. (2003). A new phylogeny of swiftlets (Aves: Apodidae) based on cytochrome-b DNA. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 29(1), 86-93.

Trade map 2016. Trade statistics for international business development. Retrieved from

Van Maanen, J. M., van Dijk, A., Mulder, K., De Baets, M. H., Menheere, P. C., van der Heide, D., Martens, P. L. J. M., & Kleinjans, J. C. (1994). Consumption of drinking water with high nitrate levels causes hypertrophy of the thyroid. Toxicology letters, 72(1), 365-374.

Wang, B. (2012). Molecular mechanism underlying sialic acid as an essential nutrient for brain development and cognition. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 3(3), 465S-472S.

Wang, B., Yu, B., Karim, M., Hu, H., Sun, Y., McGreevy, P., Petocz, P., Held, S., & Brand-Miller, J. (2007). Dietary sialic acid supplementation improves learning and memory in piglets. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(2), 561-569.

Wu, Y., Chen, Y., Wang, B., Bai, L., Ge, Y., & Yuan, F. (2010). Application of SYBRgreen PCR and 2DGE methods to authenticate edible bird's nest food.Food research international, 43(8), 2020-2026.

Yagi, H., Yasukawa, N., Yu, S. Y., Guo, C. T., Takahashi, N., Takahashi, T., Bukawa, W., Suzuki, T., Kay-Hooi, K., Suzuki, Y., & Kato, K. (2008). The expression of sialylated high-antennary N-glycans in edible bird’s nest. Carbohydrate research, 343(8), 1373-1377.

Yang, M., Cheung, S. H., Li, S. C., & Cheung, H. Y. (2014). Establishment of a holistic and scientific protocol for the authentication and quality assurance of edible bird’s nest. Food chemistry, 151, 271-278.

Yida, Z., Imam, M. U., Ismail, M., Ooi, D. J., Sarega, N., Azmi, N. H., Ismail, N., Kim, W. C., Hou, Z., & Yusuf, N. B. (2015). Edible bird’s nest prevents high fat diet-induced insulin resistance in rats. Journal of diabetes research, 2015.

Yu-Qin, Y., Liang, X., Hua, W., Hui-Xing, Z., Xin-Fang, Z., & Bu-Sen, L. (2000). Determination of edible bird's nest and its products by gas chromatography. Journal of chromatographic science, 38(1), 27-32.

Yorifuji, T., Tsuda, T., Inoue, S., Takao, S., & Harada, M. (2011). Long-term exposure to methylmercury and psychiatric symptoms in residents of Minamata, Japan. Environment international, 37(5), 907-913.

Zainab, H., Jeyaraman, S., Nur Hulwani, I., Othman, H., Lee, B. B., & Kamarudin, H. (2013). A rapid technique to determine purity of edible bird nest.

Zhang, J., Cao, H., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Ma, J., Wang, J., Gao, Y., Zhang, X., Zhang, F., & Chu, L. (2013). Nephroprotective effect of calcium channel blockers against toxicity of lead exposure in mice. Toxicology Letters, 218(3), 273-280.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The Pertanika Journal of Scholarly Research Reviews, (e-ISSN: 2462-2028, ISSN: 2636-9141) published by Universiti Putra Malaysia Press