Interesting! Thanks for the links, I love learning about stuff.
I'm am still having trouble finding what Harrison's food grades are based on their website. I would still argue on grades a bit though. Yes, there was a massive recall of dog and cat foods a few years back, I was around for that doozy! But we are also talking about meat. The meat products in the food were tainted. Feed grade meat can contain some funky stuff, but in my research on feed grade grains, fruits and veggies, it's a much different meaning.
Cherry picking some random ingredients from Harrison's (peas, nuts, etc), you can read about the actual standards of grading on the USDA website
. When it comes to non-organic
veggies and whatnot, the grade is mostly based on the food's appearance, though with certain foods there are other factors as well. For example, a smaller or misshapen pea will have a lower grade than a standard "normal" pea. This doesn't mean the pea is bad, it just means that most people wouldn't consider it "proper pea", so to speak. Cracked or broken rice can have a lower grade than whole rice, as well.
Harrison's claims their foods are "Premium USDA certified organic", and they are labeled as such. Organic is not a word lightly thrown around, and they explain this more in their handbook.
But since Harrison's is certified USDA organic (they talk about it themselves
), that means that, in summary, they comply with these criteria (the View Regulations link has more in-depth stuff on that);
Organic crops. The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms were not used.
Organic multi-ingredient foods. The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.
Just the fact they comply with organic standards automatically elevates them above run-of-the-mill feed grade brands. You cannot really cut corners when it comes to organic food.
The vitamin links were very helpful! Learned a lot from those.
Peanuts themselves are not bad, the issue with them is the shells, which can host aspergillus mold. It's certainly possible for that to transfer to the peanuts during processing. They claim to test for any issues
(question 6). It's also important to note that aspergillus mold is literally everywhere. I've seen other posts on other bird forums where the general consensus on peanuts is that it's a grey area; nobody recommends feeding peanuts outright, and certainly not whole peanuts, due to the high risk of unregulated molds. But in diets it's not that bad so long as you aren't buying a cheapo brand that probably doesn't test the food. There's another writeup here
that also talks about their testing process:
4) ORGANIC INGREDIENTS! It is very important to realize that birds are EXTREMELY SENSITIVE to the chemicals used in most contemporary farming. All Harrison’s Bird Foods are certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA). Harrison’s Bird Foods contain: NO chemical insecticides, herbicides or fungicides, NO preservatives and NO double-dosed vitamins. HBD screens all of its products for pathogenic bacteria, molds (mycotoxins) and various natural enzymes (e.g.,trypsin) to assure safety for consumption by birds and other animals.
Regarding soy, Harrison's actually has a really nice writeup on it
. Of course, it's important to note that this information is directly from them, although they provide some external sources as well. They, like everyone else, are a company trying to sell their product. However, Harrison's is also under the public and veterinary eye, so I highly doubt they would spout inaccurate information just to appease their customers.
According to Wikipedia, Montmorillonite has beneficial uses
, and parrots in the wild also consume clay. Here's another resource posted on an african grey forum
where they were having a having a discussion
about poisonous and harmful things.
Not trying to preach to the choir here or convert anyone! Like I said before, I think pellet choice is a pretty personal thing. Every single brand out there had pros and cons to it, although I've always considered TOPs, Harrison's and Roudybush to be the best choices. I just believe there are two sides to every viewpoint of course!