Snails intended for human consumption are defined in EU food regulations as terrestrial gastropods of the species Helix pomatiaLinné, Helix aspersaMuller, Helix lucorum and species of the family Achatinidae (Paragraph 6.2, Annex 1, Reg EC 853/2004). My Department has no flexibility in respect of the classification of snails for human consumption.
In Ireland, all food intended for human consumption must meet the requirements set out in detailed EU food safety regulations, generally referred to as the 'Hygiene Package'. These regulations are implemented in Ireland under the European Union (Food and Feed Hygiene) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 22 of 2020).
There are two main elements to snail production and harvesting: primary production (rearing snails); and secondary production (processing of snails). Section XI, Annex III of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004, laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, sets out the requirements for the killing and preparation for sale (processing) of snails for human consumption. Snail farmers who intend to process snails for human consumption in Ireland must be registered as a meat establishment with this Department's Meat Hygiene Division.
To date, there are no Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved Food Business Operators processing snails for human consumption.