This study has been conducted to determine the major contamination sources during frozen snail meat processing. Seventeen different control points and/or sample types (live snail, and snail meats after steaming, after shell removal, after first boiling, after gutting, after second boiling, after packaging and as frozen snail meat; air samples from gutting room, boiling room and packaging room; samples from gutting counter tops, package surfaces, scissors used during processing, forks used during processing, personnel hands, and potable water) have been examined for the enumeration of total aerobic mesophilic bacteria, coliforms, Escherichia coli, Enterobacteriaceae, coagulase positive staphylococci, Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., and yeast and molds. From the control points examined, raw material and environmental air were found as the primary contamination sources. Personnel hands and equipment used were determined as the secondary contamination sources. Second boiling and freezing stages during processing were determined to reduce the overall contamination rate, and therefore had positive effects on the microbiological quality of the final product. Programs approving the acceptance of snails only with low initial microbial counts to the plant, giving emphasis to processing in proper hygiene conditions with sufficient sanitary applications is strongly recommended. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.