Several methods are used to harvest snail filtrate in cosmetic manufacture, some being sodium chloride-based (salt) and others being physiological saline-based. Similarly, there are processes which use electrical discharges and centrifugation. These equally barbaric, so-called “disgorging or exploitation” methods do not respect the welfare of the animal and almost always result in the death of snails.
For Mlle Agathe, using these extreme methods was out of the question. Our snail breeder, who has been a supporter of animal rights for many years, developed a totally manual, “snail-by-snail” harvesting process, after more than three years of research.
This method has numerous advantages in comparison with the previously mentioned methods:
- By far the most important factor, the animal is not subject to ill-treatment. The mortality rate following harvesting is zero. Reproductive tests carried out after extraction reveal that fertility is comparable to that of the reference sample which has not undergone harvesting;
- A more substantial amount of snail filtrate. We were able to demonstrate the presence of a greater number of proteins beneficial to the skin, by using a harmless method and without injuring our gastropods;
- Preservation : The stabilisation of snail filtrate is conducted in the breeding area, without chemical or synthetic preservatives, before being sent to our laboratory to be filtered, stabilised and concentrated within an extract;
- Pollution : Our breeding area adjoins a small village in the Drome (Albon) to ensure protection from crop dusting and conventional agricultural treatments. We test soil and water sources several times a year in order to guarantee organic agriculture.
Our harvested snail filtrate is highly specific and cannot be harvested mechanically.
Snails produce several types of filtrate for a range of different purposes. There are at least 5 different types :
- Filtrate for crawling : Filtrate which enables snails to move.
- Epiphragm filtrate : Ectothermic animals (cold-blooded animals which are not able to regulate their body temperature themselves) adopt a slow pace of life by refraining from feeding. Snails seal the mouth of their shells with an operculum, known as the ‘epiphragm’. This filtrate primarily contains limestone in order to provide, with the shell, a barrier against frost.
- Reproductive filtrate : The filtrate, which coats the snail’s ‘love dart’, doubles the snail’s chances of fertilisation during mating. Snail fertility can be attributed to chemical reactions within the filtrate rather than within the ‘love dart’ itself.
- Spawning filtrate : Snails leave a nutrient-rich filtrate which coats the hole in which the spat are deposited. The new-born are able to feed on this during their first few days of life.
Defence or stress filtrate: This is a very fluid, low quality protein filtrate. This filtrate is primarily harvested using barbaric “disgorging or exploitation” methods ;
- Regenerative filtrate : This filtrate is typically produced by snails to protect themselves from parasites and intruders. This filtrate is thicker and very rich in organic macromolecules such as allantoin and glycolic and vitamin acid – their prime function being to regenerate and protect the snail’s foot.
When harvesting this regenerative filtrate, our snail breeder uses large spawners, these are solely used for their filtrate and do not enter into the food chain.