So we typically clean vegetable matter of bugs because, while it isn't an aveirah to eat a bug part if it's smaller than a(n) (halachic) olive, it is still prohibited to eat any non-kosher living thing as a whole regardless of size. How far does this extend though? Obviously we aren't concerned with microbacteria because those are impossible to see with the naked eye, but what are the machmir and makil opinions on this subject? How big does the bug have to be before it is required, by these opinions, to brush them off your veggies?

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    I'm pretty sure that the rule is "visible to the naked eye," but I don't have a source for you.
    – MTL
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 18:00
  • @Shokhet That's the thought I had as well, but it's a little subjective... kind of like the size of said olive.
    – rosenjcb
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 18:06
  • About the size of the kezayis: amazon.com/Halachos-Kzayis-Yisroel-Pinchos-Bodner/dp/1583304894/…
    – MTL
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 18:13
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    "...while it isn't an aveirah to eat a bug part if it's smaller than a(n) (halachic) olive...." That is incorrect. It is biblically prohibited to eat even a bug smaller than a k'zayis, and the person is theoretically biblically liable for lashes if such a bug was eaten intact (Rambam Hil. Ma'achalos Asuros 2:21).
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 18:41
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    @rosenjcb Oh, I somehow missed that, probably because there's every reason to expect that there are intact bugs on infested vegetables, and the logical part of my brain overpowered the careful reading part of my brain. Thanks for pointing that out.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


I don't know of any positions that forbid that which can't be detected using means that were available in ancient times (e.g. microscopic); nor of a position that would allow one to take an individual bug that is visibly a bug, albeit small, and eat it (or frankly, l'chatchila, even an individual bug part that is not part of a larger mixture). There is a range of positions, however, about when it is a concern in a taaroves (mixture) regarding how evident the bugs' presence have to be. See: http://5tjt.com/tropicana-orange-juice-an-update/

  • Very interesting article!
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 23:22

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