Expensive Escargot

Rising food prices have hit the snail sector. The news from the Independent, which is utterly unable to resist the obvious pun: “Shell-shocked French food processors have warned that they can no longer obtain sufficient quantities of snails from eastern Europe, their principal source of supply.”

Although France is self-sufficient for a quarter of its snail needs, the rest used to come from low-income, muck-coated snail scavengers in Eastern Europe, notably Poland and Hungary. But since those countries joined the EU, other opportunities have attracted the snail hunters: As the Independent writes, the French food-processing industry recently admitted that collecting snails was “now the object of ‘growing disaffection’ among eastern Europeans.” Prices of the 700 million snails that the French eat each year are expected to rise. As the BBC notes, “the days of cheap snails are over.”

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