I was at a friends house the other day at Beerwah and as she was running late, got talking to her husband who belongs to a local farming family of some generations.
I had brought along some home grown chokos so the talk turned to gardening. I mentioned I grow organic fruit and veg and was asked if I was "one of those greenies?" Now I always thought a greenie was someone who objected to trees being felled etc so was a little nonplussed.
This gentleman believes there is a real need to use some chemicals to deter pests as he believes eating foods contaminated with (some varieties of??) snail slime (which won't wash off??) can poison us.
I have heard of someone dying from eating a snail and contracting some kind of parasite on the news fairly recently (details??) but this is the first I've heard that snail slime can be toxic to us.
I've done a bit of a search and can't come up with any information on the subject. Does anyone know any more about this? Either yay or nay.
And whole regiments of people eat snails! Mind you they are cooked delicately in butter with Garlic and Parsley ;-)
The disease is possibly hydatids (hydatid cysts) of which I know only the name. I believe in New Zealand it can be an issue with dogs/sheep and whatever-else forming a two or three-stage life-cycle and dogs in rural areas need to be vaccinated against it. The liklihood of our snails having the parasite to pass on is remote and washing veges should deal with anything we'd prefer not to eat.
I don't think he's referring to all snails, just some that are toxic.
Like mushrooms, some can be eaten and some can't (as I will attest having ended up in hospital from eating the latter).
Jodie, he believed the slime doesn't wash off.
Unfortunately this is true and one of the important reasons that veges should be thoroughly washed, even from an organic garden. The disease is similar to encephalitis. It is caused by the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which rats and snails are a host for. Usually people get very sick but there has been at least one death in Brisbane of a small child that actually ate a snail. Washing veges and controlling snails with least-toxic snail baits is the way to go.
That's good info Frances, thank you.
So ALL snails could potentially be carriers?? What about slugs - can they also be carriers??
Now I have some names I will look into it further (this is Mothers Day for me and my kids and I are all heading out today or would check now).
I nibble when I go around my garden. Dee (Edible Weeds workshop) postively poo-poos washing before eating.
Just occured to me - this is why we got into trouble as kids for nibbling on grass even though no adult could tell me why I shouldn't do it.
OMG, I thought this was nonsense until I saw Frances comment and researched it - very concerning that we were unaware of it!
Humans are incidental hosts of this roundworm, and may become infected through ingestion of larvae in raw or undercooked snails or other vectors, or from contaminated water and vegetables. The larvae are then transported via the blood to the central nervous system (CNS), where they are the most common cause of eosinophilic meningitis, a serious condition that can lead to death or permanent brain and nerve damage. Identified in 1964, Angiostrongyliasis is an infection of increasing public health importance as globalization aids in the geographic spread of the disease.
To prevent infection:
* Do not eat raw or undercooked snails or slugs. Handle snails or slugs while wearing gloves and wash hands thoroughly.
* Do not eat raw foods contaminated with snails or slugs. Boil snails, prawns, fish, and crabs for at least 3-5 minutes.
* Keep home gardens free of rodents, snails and slugs.
* Wash produce thoroughly.
This one is a pdf so I can't copy and paste but it says the lavae are present in the snail slime trails.
Maybe it doesn't wash off!?...
Your eyesight must be good Jodie. Personally I rely on glasses these days to see fine detail and I'm not always wearing them while gardening.
No doubt your chances of dying in a car crash are greater, I do a lot of driving for work and can attest to the number of idiots on the road. But still we take precautions - defensive driving courses, following the road rules and observing the speed limit.
After all, you wash your hands after toileting to avoid the possibility of contagion.
Washing our food equates to the same thing in my book and educating ourselves about health issues isn't wasted time to a lot of us, but well worth looking in to.
With the rekindled interest in growing our own backyard produce and keeping chooks comes the associated health issues. I don't have the benefit of having my grandad around to educate me on how they dealt with these things in his day so I keep an open mind and try to learn some facts.