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)?

  • 6
    Eww.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ – Double AA Jul 9 '13 at 8:10
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    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 Jul 9 '13 at 9:34
  • Do you need some more bugs? I have some in my fridge for situations like this. – Hacham Gabriel Jul 9 '13 at 13:30
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    Ants. They put the vermin in ever min hachay. – msh210 Jul 9 '13 at 18:23
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    Whether or not it is permissible, it is gross. – Wad Cheber Aug 19 '15 at 5:58
up vote 11 down vote accepted

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 Jul 10 '13 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 Jul 14 '13 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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