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This work reports on cadmium and lead contaminations in the edible snail Helix pomatia harvested in Poland. One hundred and 24 samples of Helix pomatia meat collected from seven provinces (voivodeships) of Poland were analyzed for their trace metal levels by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS). The research was conducted in 2 stages. The 1st stage analyzed snail meat prior to any further technological treatment (raw meat). In the 2nd stage, the trace element levels were measured in meat subjected to technological treatment (processed meat). The trace element contents in raw meat samples ranged from 0.06 mg kg-1 to 0.22 mg kg-1 for Cd and from 0.06 mg kg-1 to 0.18 mg kg-1 for Pb. The analyses revealed an increase in the cad- mium content from 0.12 mg kg-1 to 0.18 mg kg-1 in thermally treated snail meat and no changes in lead concentration during the two-stage heat treatment. Regulation (EC) 1881/2006 does not specify the Cd and Pb residue limits in meat of terrestrial edible snails. The limits are set for in- vertebrate aquatic organisms meat (i.e. shellfish, mollusc, cephalopod) and range from 0.5 mg/kg to 1.5 mg/kg of tissue fresh weight for Pb and from 0.5 mg kg -1 to 1 mg kg-1 for Cd (EU Commis- sion 2006). The results demonstrate that the land snail Helix pomatia has a tendency to bioaccu- mulate trace elements, and the cooking process is likely to affect (increase) the Cd content in the snail meat.
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