African giant snail is a popular alternative source of animal protein in Ghana and many other countries. The meat is high in lean protein and mineral elements. Ready-to-use meat obtained from snails can compete with animal proteins found on the market. After shelling, snails produced some slime that interfered with preparation and processing of the meat. This study aimed to provide consumers with ready-to-use fresh snails conveniently available on the market. The best treatment for eliminating slime from snails was determined using a 2×10×3 factorial design. Vinegar plus salt treatment was the most effective slime removal treatment which led to a significant weight loss. Irradiation at all doses most effectively reduced the microbial load of snails after slime removal. A 6×4×3 factorial design was used for the shelf-life study. Irradiation at 1.5 and 3 kGy extended the shelf life of fresh snails by 14 extra days with the lowest microbial load. Radiation did not affect the fat and mineral content, but the protein content increased. Panelists preferred irradiated snails even though they had different odours and aromas. This study concluded that irradiating fresh snails even at lower doses can extend the shelf-life of fresh snails under refrigeration temperature.
Key words: Contamination, irradiation, Achatina achatina, A. marginata.
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