Home »


Land Snails

Snails are member of the Phylum Mollusca, which contains at least 80.000 species and is the second largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Although mainly considered a French dish, snails have been eaten for many thousands of years. Large quantities of empty shells have been found in the caves of prehistoric man, indicating that in various parts of the world they were a common part of the diet at that time. With the rise of civilisation, various cultures (including the Greeks and Romans) have continued to eat snails, often considering them a delicacy. Today snail  meat is a favoured  product in  many  European countries (France,  Italy,  Spain,  Belgium,  Greece, Switzerland,  Germany,  Great  Britain  and  Denmark),  as  well  as  in  other  continents:  Africa,  Asia,  North America and Australia. There are over 100 different types of edible snails, ranging insize from 1 mm to the Giant African snail (Achatina fulica) growing up to a foot long. All the farmed snails are member of the Class Gastropoda, suborder Styllomatophora and the species farmed most frequently are Helix aspersa, the common garden snail, Helix pomatia, the Roman or edible snail, Helix lucorum, Theba pisana, Otala lactea, and Achatina fulica and Archachatina marginata, the giant African land snails, which are are increasingly harvested. There are some additional species, but they are either less abundant (like Cantareus apertus=Helix aperta) or only locally eaten. Many countries have large international market for snails and a great deal of them exports snails for foreign exchange. Among these are China, France, Italy and many other European countries. The price of the giant African land snail is relatively low on the international market, about one-third the price of the European species. This is because the meat of the African species is considered rubbery and the shell is less suitable for presentation. Snails are usually imported as canned products and, to increase profit, the cans might be incorrectly labeled. Snail species are usually identified and differentiated by morphological characteristics. However, specific snail species are unrecognizable after cooking and canning. Because of that there is a need for a suitable technique to identify canned snail meat. Our study aims to investigate PCR methods for the identification of different species of snails, in order to point out label non-conformities in these products.

News »

(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.