My pizza has some ants in it. I thought, who cares. Just eat them alive.

Does that break Noahide laws?

Must all of our food must be really sterile (i.e., dead)?

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    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 8:10
  • 2
    it's an interesting question if rephrased "is it permissible according to Noahide laws for a non-Jew to eat living insects" and preferably without the pizza story. maybe replace with freshly picked produce or whatever
    – ray
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 9:34
  • Do you need some more bugs? I have some in my fridge for situations like this. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 13:30
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    Ants. They put the vermin in ever min hachay.
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:23
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    Whether or not it is permissible, it is gross.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


The Mishneh Torah rules:

The prohibition applies to a limb or flesh that is separated from either a domesticated animal or a beast. However, it appears to me that a gentile is not executed for eating a limb taken from a living bird. ( Melachim uMilchamot 9:11)

Though the Rava'ad (see Moznaim ibid) disagrees, he exempts a sheretz (creeping creature), and it is would seem seafood is just out of the equation.

It would seem then that the prohibition would not extend to insects or similar creatures.

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    see also judaism.stackexchange.com/a/29568/899 :)
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 1:26
  • No body got executed for that. I would never eat any living thing because it's so cruel. However the ants are more like cells instead of a living being.
    – user4951
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 10:01

The laws regarding ever min hachai apply only to domestic and wild land mammals and birds. This is because ever min hachai only applies where there is a distinction/difference made in the Torah between an animal's flesh and its blood. (see Rambam, Laws of Kings 9). The Torah does not make this distinction concerning the Sheretz animals as well as other animals such as arthropods, echinoderms, mollusks, amphibians, reptiles and fish. (Divine Code, Weiner et al pages 299-300).

It is therefore, technically permissible to eat a living animal whole, or to eat parts taken from them while alive, as long as the animal does not fall under the prohibited categories mentioned above. That being said, there is still the prohibition of tzar baali chayim, that is, the prohibition of being unnecessarily cruel to any living animal and therefore care should be taken to avoid cause any undo pain. (see Tractate Chullin 7B) I would suggest therefore that eating the ants whole is certainly not a violation of ever min hachai, but may be a violation of tzar baali chayim simply because it is unnecessary to do so.

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