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Snail Farming

Heliciculture is the process of farming or raising edible land snails for human consumption.  Snail farms may be outdoors; in buildings with a controlled climate; or in closed systems such as plastic tunnel houses or "greenhouses." In addition, snails may breed and hatch inside in a controlled environment and later be placed in outside pens to mature.

History of Snail Farming

Edible Snails.  E.W. Rust.  Yearbook of Agriculture 1914. p. 491-503.


"Of Snails" in Roman Farm Management: The Treatises of Cato and Varro. Trans. "A Virginia Farmer," from Varro's Rerum Rusticarum, Libri III. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1913. pp. 325-327. Project Gutenberg e-book edition.

Farming Snails

Regulations, Permits and Restrictions

  • Regulated Organism and Soil Permits: Snails and Slugs

    USDAAPHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Division.

    This Web page details USDA PPQ Plant Pest Permits required for the importation or interstate movement of live snails, and certain restrictions on the culture, release or interstate movement of snails. The page states: USDA will authorize interstate movement of live snails for the purpose of establishing a snail farm. A PPQ 526 plant pest permit is required for snails that are agricultural pests. The permit applicant must obtain, in writing, State Agricultural Official concurrence before a movement permit will be issued.

  • Containment Guidelines for Nonindigenous, Phytophagous Mollusks ( pdf | 33 KB )

    USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

    Purpose of the document:  These guidelines are a reference to help design, build, maintain, and operate a facility for nonindigenous, phytophagous mollusks: including Cornu aspersum (Helix aspersa, Cryptomphalus asperses), Cantareus apertus (Helix aperta), Eobania vermiculata (Otala vermiculata), Helix pomatia, and Otala lacteal.

  • Low-acid Canned Food

    USDA. Food and Drug Administration.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the canning of low-acid foods such as snails. Federal Regulations require commercial processors of shelf stable acidified foods and low-acid canned foods in a hermetically sealed container to be sold in the United States to register each establishment and file scheduled processes with the Food and Drug Administration for each product, product style, container size and type and processing method (21 CFR 108).   Instructions are available on the web site.

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