My Sun Conure loves almonds

Smoked and salted almonds
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My Sun Conure loves almonds. I generally give her an almond almost every day. Almonds have an excellent source of calcium, vitamin E, healthy antioxidants, and protein. Most parrots just love almonds. However it pays to be aware of some facts before you give your parrot or Sun Conure almonds.

Almost all almonds sold in the United States are pasteurized in one form or another. Pasteurization started because of concerns over salmonella in the early 2000s. Pasteurization can be by steaming or by using propylene oxide gas (PPO) which is a known possible carcinogen though the Almond Board of California says that PPO poses no risks to consumers. Oil roasting and blanching are also pasteuration methods.

Certified organic almonds sold in the United States are steamed pasteurized. If you want truly raw almonds that have not been cooked, heated, or treated in any way, it’s possible to buy them direct from a grower or buy the more expensive imported almonds that are usually from Spain or Italy.

When I give my Sun Conure organic almonds that are steam pasteurized, some of the nutrients and enzymes possibly may be killed by steaming; however there is less possibility of salmonella. However according to the Almond Board of California  the steaming is only a surface steaming with just heat and water and doesn’t impact the nutrients of the almond.

While I don’t want the loss of nutrients from steaming the almonds even on the surface, salmonella is of a concern because almonds can carry harmful bacteria and insect larvae. By the way you can sprout the certified organic almonds that have been steamed pasteurized.

Imported raw almonds are safe for the most part, but it is best to purchase from a reputable source. So no matter where you purchase your almonds that you feed to your parrot, you should be aware of the source of the almonds and whether or not they are pasteurized and how they are pasteurized.

When I give Goldie my Sun Conure her organic steam pasteurized almonds she usually lets out a little laugh and proceeds to devour it. The trouble with almonds is that unless you are getting organic almonds it can be hard to know how they have been pasteurized because it doesn’t always state it on the label. Nonetheless, since my Sun Conure loves almonds I will continue to give them to her, though cautiously, and with as much information about the source as I can find.  

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