am very pleased to write my second editorial for The Malacologist,
but at the same time, I feel sad that I must hand over to Bill Bailey
temporarily. This is because of my move from the Central Science Laboratory
in York to the States to follow a secondment as a Risk Analyst at
the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) of the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) in Maryland.
FDA is a scientific regulatory agency responsible for the safety of the USA’s domestically produced and imported foods, cosmetics, drugs, biologics, medical devices, and radiological products, including of course shellfish! Shellfish are among the most common food allergens, and mollusks are included in the latest Food Labeling (Declaration of Allergens) (England) Regulations 2007 which came into force last December to implement EU Directive 2006/142/EC. In 2006, 21% (74) of the RASFF notifications supplied by the UK concerned fish, crustaceans and molluscs (http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/incidentsar.pdf).
Whether edible land snails carry the same degree of risk to humans as their marine and freshwater relatives is not known. What is becoming evident, however, is how far some have traveled - often aided by man. An example appears in Prem Budha’s research grant report on the Giant African land snail in Nepal. The report by another grant awardee, Adele Grindon from Nottingham University, on “The genetic evidence for a Scandinavian origin of land snails in Iceland and Canada” will be delayed pending publication in a peer-reviewed journal. So, for a while, the distribution of the European land snail Cepaea hortensis on islands in the North Atlantic and down the east coast of North America remains a puzzle. Recent archaeological evidence indicates it was introduced to N. America in the pre-Columbian era, and Adele’s research aimed to determine the European origin of the species in America, by sequencing a small, yet highly variable, region of the mitochondrial DNA. We therefore wait to hear whether the first Europeans to discover North America, were vikings snacking on Cepaea hortensis. This should catch the media’s attention –at least on this side of the pond!
Please, navigate through the rest of the articles and research grant reports included in this issue. They feature land snails, including the giant African snail, Sri Lankan rainforest snails and Irish tufa snail assemblages, aquatic molluscs (i.e. snail Anisus vorticulus and anomalodesmatan bivalves), and marine snails including Smaragdia viridis and Littorina obtusata species.
Last, but not least, this issue brings the sad news of the deaths of two members, Dr Alan Bebbington, a former President, and Dr Leslie Elmslie who was recognized internationally for his work on heliciculture issues. We hope to include their obituaries in the August issue.
I am deeply grateful to all who have contributed material for this issue, but most of all I am deeply grateful to Bill Bailey who has done most of the work and has been an untiring guardian of the bulletin since issue 20.
Please, send contributions of articles, brief reviews, and news items (including items from non-malacological journals) for the next issue (August 2008) to Bill Bailey (bill...@manchester.ac.uk; s.ba...@m336wy.freeserve.co.uk). Please, remember to keep articles and abstracts “as short as possible but as long as necessary” and avoid or explain specialist terms. Where appropriate, include a reference to a more detailed account, and an illustration!