If you find small (but visible) pieces of dirt on your food or drink is it permissible to eat it? Are there sources that discuss this?

By dirt I mean "an unknown foreign object that makes the food look bad".

  • 1
    Are there bugs?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 18:40
  • @DoubleAA - We already know that bugs are forbidden; the question only seems to be asking about dirt alone. Commented May 17, 2012 at 0:01
  • I recall having recently seen a gemara or midrash that says a person once ate dirt and a seed, and the seed took root and that person's heart and it sprouted and killed him. Commented May 17, 2012 at 0:04
  • @ adam mosheh posted the gemara you qouted in answer.
    – sam
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


Based on the verse (Lev. 11:43), אל תשקצו את נפשותיכם - "do not make yourselves detestable," there is indeed a halachah that one may not eat things that are disgusting to the average person. Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 116:6) puts it as follows:

אסור לאכול מאכלים ומשקים שנפשו של אדם קצה בהם, כגון משקים ואוכלים שנתערבו בהם קיא או צואה או ליחה סרוחה וכיוצא בהם... שכל אלו בכלל אל תשקצו את נפשותיכם

It is forbidden to eat foods and drinks that are repellent to a [normal] person, such as drinks or foods into which vomit, excreta, pus or the like have been mixed... for all of these are included in the [prohibition], "Do not make yourselves detestable."

  • Is this derived from the gemara that prohibits drinking from a disgusting utensil due to bal t'shak'tzu (Makos 16b)?
    – Fred
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 2:18
  • @Fred: yes. Shulchan Aruch indeed cites that as well (in the part that I left out).
    – Alex
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 3:58

The Gemara in Shabbas 113b brings down a discussion about eating dirt. Rebbe asks can one eat dirt on shabbas because of refuah?

Rabbi Yismael b' Rebbi Yossi says it is forbidden even during the week since it makes one sick.

Rav Ami: Eating dirt from Bavel is like eating ones ancestors. Some say it is like eating shrutzim and rumasim.

The Chachamim forbade it because of it being unhealthy and because of shratzim u'rumasim.

A person one time ate clean dirt and it sprouted inside of him and reached his heart and he died.

  • 1
    The g'mara is about earth. See the explanatory note appended to the question: "By dirt I mean 'an unknown foreign object that makes the food look bad'."
    – msh210
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 2:00

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