Why organic?

To be able to choose to use an organic product, as opposed to a non-organic alternative, would seem to be an easy choice. The quality of the food in terms of direct nutrients, and lack of exposure to a wide range of toxic agrochemicals which may have an immediate direct or accumulative effect on body systems, makes organic a much healthier option. Organic farming is also less damaging to nature.

For this reason, a premium is placed on the words ‘organic’, and control over what can and what cannot be advertised as organic has to be regulated.

Make sure that what you are purchasing is certified organic. If it is not ‘certified’ as organic by a nationally recognised agency, then it is not legally classed as organic and should not be marketed as such.

Harrison's Bird Food are certified organic in the USA by Where Food Comes From Organic (US-ORG-001) and certified in the UK by the Organic Food Federation (GB-ORG-04)

Harrison’s, pet birds and organics

Parrots and other pet birds are well known to be especially sensitive to environmental toxins, such as certain metals, chemical cleaners, and overheated plastic-coated cookware. Chemicals that normally are only irritating to humans and other animals can be extremely toxic to parrots. It is only in recent years that thought has been given to the potential cancers, neurological problems, hormonal imbalances, allergies and disruptions of their fragile immune systems that may be attributed directly to pesticide residues on foods that parrots ingest, or to the inherent dangers of commonly used pet food preservatives such as Ethoxyquin.

Organic is the answer. The use of the USDA Organic seal on Harrison’s products designates that third party organic certifiers, accredited by the USDA have confirmed that Harrison’s Bird Foods meets the guidelines specified in The National Organic Program. Harrison’s Bird Foods are made from crops grown under strict organic specifications. The formulas are created, packaged and stored (at the HBD distribution facility) under these strict specifications. No artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives are used.

Are there any downsides to Harrison’s being organic? It is almost impossible to over-estimate the benefits that a pet bird will derive from eating Harrison’s Bird Food with their scientifically formulated diets and the organic seal of approval. However, in attaining organic status the only preservatives permitted in the foods are those naturally occurring within the product. This means that, unlike some products that use chemical preservatives, Harrison’s foods have a shorter shelf-life.

What does “certified organic” mean?

Organic food is produced without using (amongst other things): most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering (GMO); ionizing radiation; or artificial chemicals.

“Certified organic” means that a non-profit, state or private certification organisation, accredited by the country of production and, where appropriate, country of importation and distribution, has verified that products labelled as “organic” meet strictly defined standards. These standards relate to the production of the raw ingredients, the manufacturing of the products, and the handling of the finished goods.

The growing of the raw ingredients used in Harrison’s Bird Foods, and the manufacturing processes used, comply with USDA organic standards and the finished foods are certified organic by an independent agency.

Meadow's Animal Healthcare, the parent company of Harrison's Bird Foods - UK, as the importers of Harrison's Bird Foods into the UK must also comply with standards set out by the Organic Food Federation, an independent agency in the UK.

This certification gives you confidence that you are buying products that meet the highest standards for organic ingredients and production methods. Any product not ‘certified’ as organic by a nationally recognised agency it is not legally classed as organic, should not be marketed as such, and you may question the validity of the claim that it is produced using only methods which meet the defined standards.

How can I tell organically produced products from conventionally produced items?

You must look at package labels. For foods manufactured in the USA, the USDA developed national organic standards, and strict labelling rules, to help consumers know the exact organic content of the food they buy. The USDA Organic seal also tells you that a product is at least 95 percent organic. No official seal means it is not an officially recognised organic product. Likewise, products manufactured or distributed in the UK, and reporting to be 'organic', should carry the symbol of an independent certification agency, such as the Organic Food Federation.

Does "made from organic foods" mean organic?

No. The process of organic certification also takes into account the storage, processing and manufacturing of the end product which must also conform to organic standards. (Using organically grown food but then including a chemical preservative in the finished product, for example, would negate the organic status.)

Does “natural” mean organic?

No. Natural and organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don’t confuse these terms with “organic.” Only food labelled “certified organic” has been certified as meeting organic standards.


Products containing GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) genetically engineered crops etc. cannot be certified organic. However, Harrison's Bird Foods have gone even one step further in gaining certification for their organic products with the Non-GMO Project.

Organics and the environment

Conventional farming techniques have incorporated chemical pesticides for many years, and their use has increased significantly with the intensification of agriculture over the past fifty years.

In the beginning it was believed that these pesticides were the only way to maintain high crop yields. Not much thought was given early on to the cumulative dangers of these poisons as they were continuously being fed into the earth. Now it is known that pesticides can cause serious environmental problems, with direct effects on wildlife and the environment, and indirect effects such as the contamination of rivers and groundwater occurring from water draining off land or infiltrating to the water table. And there is also much greater awareness of the alternative methods that can be used whilst still returning good yields.

  • As a consequence of the increased use of pesticides, the number of farmland birds has declined. This has been due to a direct effect from the chemicals, and also the negative impact it has on the foods on which these birds survive. Surveys have identified pesticide use as the single most important factor in declining bird populations. 
  • The US Migratory Bird Council estimates that of the roughly 672 million wild birds exposed annually to pesticides on U.S. agricultural lands, 10% or 67 million are killed.
  • Pesticides cause considerable harm to bees and other pollinating species, blocking neural pathways in their central nervous systems, causing disorientation, inability to feed and death. Once seeds have been coated in these pesticides, then every part of the plant’s tissues will take it up as it grows. A bee can still receive a toxic dose a long time after the plant has been treated. Neonics also spread and contaminate soil, air, nearby hedges and water nearby. Research has shown that bee populations are often more than 50% higher on organic farmland when compared with those using non-organic methods.
  • Many pesticides are highly toxic to aquatic life, and evidence suggests that certain pesticides that find their way into water can interfere with endocrine (hormone) systems, for example affecting fertility and reproduction in fish, and leading to developmental changes. In the United States, a national study detected pesticides in more than 90% of all stream samples from agricultural, urban, and mixed-use areas, showing the extent of the problem.

Organic farming, or sustainable agriculture, is the first step toward moving away from this dangerous trend. Proper crop rotation breaks the cycles of pest and disease problems and balances the nutrient demands of specific crops. Alternative pest controls, such as certain insects or plantings, are incorporated into agriculture. The result is a safe, fertile and biologically diverse ground soil without the dangers of pesticide runoff.