“CLEAN” or “UNCLEAN” FOOD in today’s context

In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, God reveals which animals—including fish and birds—are clean and those unfit for human consumption. Although the lists are not exhaustive, God provides guidelines for us to recognize which animals are acceptable for consumption.

In this blog post, you will find answers to questions you might have about the clean and unclean animals.

To make it easier for you here is a summary of what is addressed in this post.


  • List of clean animals (may be eaten)
  • List of unclean animals (are not to be eaten)
  • Q & A about clean and unclean food
  • Question: “Isn’t the clean and unclean food law only for the Jews?”
  • Question: “Wasn’t the law abolished when Jesus died on the cross?”
  • Question: “What about the verses in the old testament that seem to tell us that we can eat whatever we want?”
  • Question: “So why God did make the unclean animals? And why they are categorized as “unclean”?”
  • Question: “Can you mention some health consequences of eating unclean animals?”
  • Question: “Why does God care so much about what we eat?”




Chicken, Turkey, Grouse, Partridge, Pheasant, Pigeon, Prairie chicken, Ptarmigan, Quail, Sagehen

In Deuteronomy 14:11-20, a list of birds is given to signify which birds are unclean and not to be eaten; basically, all the rest can be consumed. Here is what Deuteronomy 14:11-20 says: 

  • “Of all clean birds ye shall eat. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the  glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, And every raven after his kind, And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. But of all clean fowls ye may eat.”


Antelope, Bison (buffalo), Caribou, Cattle (beef, veal), Deer (venison), Elk, Gazelle, goat, Hart, Ibex, Moose, Ox, Reindeer, Sheep (lamb, mutton)

  • “Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.” – Leviticus 11:3
  • “The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.” – Deuteronomy 14:5-6

This text is taken from The Bible Diet Book. Learn more.

This text is taken from “the Bible Diet” book.


You can order a printed copy of the book by clicking here.Or you can get the digital copy for FREE by clicking here.


Fish with fins and scales

Anchovy, Barracuda, Bass, Black Pomfret, Bluefish, Bluegill, Carp, Cod, Crappie, Drum, Flounder, Grouper, Grunt, Haddock, Hake, Halibut, Hardhead, Herring, Kingfish, Mackerel, Mahimahi, dolphinfish (not the mammal dolphin), Minnow, Mullet, Perch, Pike, Pollack, Rockfish, Salmon, Sardine, Shad, Silver hake, Smelt, Snapper, Sole, Steelhead, Sucker, Sunfish, Tarpon, Trout, Tuna, Whitefish.

  • “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.” – Leviticus 11:9

Locust, bald locust beetle, grasshopper

  • “Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.” – Leviticus 11:21-22




Pig, peccary, boar

  • “And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.” – Leviticus 11:7

Rabbit, hare

  • “And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.”- Leviticus 11:5 “And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.” – Leviticus 11:6

Water creatures

Shellfish (Abalone, Clam, Crab, Crayfish, Lobster, Mussel, Prawn, Oyster, Scallop, Shrimp) Soft body (Cuttlefish, Jellyfish, Limpet, Octopus, calamari)

Sea mammals (Dolphin, Otter, Porpoise, Seal, Walrus, Whale)

Fish with no fins and no scales (Bullhead, Catfish, Eel, European Turbot, Marlin, Paddlefish, Sculpin, Shark, Stickleback, Squid, Sturgeon (includes most caviar), Swordfish)

  • “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you” – Leviticus 11:10

Camel, horse, donkey, zebra, mule

  • “Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you” – Leviticus 11:4
  • “The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.” Leviticus 11:26

Apes, bears, canines such as dogs and wolves, felines such as cats and lions:

  • “And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.” – Leviticus 11:27

Eagle, vulture, ossifrage, ospray, kite, owl, hawk, cuckow, cormorant, swan, pelican, stork, heron, lapwing, bat:

  • “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.” – Leviticus 11:13-20

All insects, except the locust, the bald locust, the beetle, the grasshopper after their kind:

  • “And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.” – Leviticus 11:41-42
  • “But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.” – Leviticus 11:23

Reptiles (Alligator, Caiman, Crocodile, Lizard, Snake, Turtle), Amphibians (Blindworm, Frog, Newt, Salamander, Toad), snail, mole, mouse, rat:

“These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.” – Leviticus 11:29-30

Q & A about clean and unclean food

  • Question: “Isn’t the clean and unclean food law only for the Jews?”

Answer: WRONG. Before the Jewish nation even existed, There was already the notion of “clean” and “unclean” animals. Prior to the flood, God told Noah: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his
female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” – Genesis 7:2
Before this event, Noah already knew what animals were clean or unclean

  • Question: “Wasn’t the law abolished when Jesus died on the cross?”

Answer: WRONG. When Jesus died on the cross, the ceramonial lwas have been abolished because all these lwas that we find in the old testament were pointing to Jesus. But the other laws like the law of unclean and clean animals and of course the 10 commandments have not been abolished. Jesus even tells us: “”If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John 14:15
Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He said:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1 John 5:3

  • Question: “What about the verses in the old testament that seem to tell us that we can eat whatever we want?”

Answer: I talked about this subject, click here to learn more about Bible verses about food that are often misinterpreted.

  • Question: “So why God did make the unclean animals? And why they are categorized as “unclean”?”

Answer: God enjoys and loves all creatures, and they all have a purpose. In His wisdom, God knows why he created all things. If you look at everything in nature, all things have been perfectly made and are well organized. Of
course, things are less and less well organized because of sin resulting in human destruction and selfishness.
Here are some of the Bible verses that tell us how much God cares for all the creatures: “And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth
upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” – Genesis 1:25
“O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” – Psalm 104:24
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly
Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” -Matthew 6:26
“And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot
discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”Jonah 4:11
“The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.” – Psalm 104:31

Some animals have been categorized as “unclean” by God, not because they are less beautiful or less useful.
If you list the unclean animal, many are non-vegetarian. Many are carnivores and some are even scavengers (Definition of scavenger: an animal, such as a pig, a vulture or a crab, that feeds on dead or decaying
matters.) If they are eaten, they can be harmful to our health.
Some animals have been created to be a cleanup crew for the earth, the bottoms of lakes, rivers, and oceans such as the pigs, vultures, crabs or oysters. Others balance the circle of life. Indeed, carnivores are
prey animals that help to control the populations of other animals.

Some examples of nature vacuum cleaners:

Example 1: Lobsters walk at the bottom of the oceans and scavenge for dead animals and debris. Dead
fish are even sometimes buried by lobster and then dug up to be eaten little by little.
Example 2: Crabs can eat anything and are known to be “garbage hunters”.
Example 3: Shrimps also feed off of dead and decaying matter.
Example 4: Oyster, clams, mussels, and scallops have been created for a great purpose. They purify the water. They are stationary, meaning that they can not hunt and we can find them in streams, coastal areas and lakes and they are considered filter-feeders. They pump large amounts of water over their gills, trapping small pieces of viruses, bacteria, viruses and plant debris to eat them.
Example 5: Pigs eat about anything and everything, hairs, bones, defecations and many other unimaginable things. They can clean up a field full of garbage.
Example 6: Eagles or other carnivorous animals are obviously very important to control the populations of
other groups of animals.

Question: “Can you mention some health consequences of eating unclean animals?”

Answer: We have to remember that when we eat an animal we are also eating all that they have eaten. Eating unclean animals can give us many serious diseases.
For example, the pig eats many bad things and has no sweat glands, and from their birth to their death, retain in their fat every particle of bacteria that they come in contact with. Along with other unclean animals,
pigs can transmit to humans “trichinosis” which is caused by the small worm that finds his way into animal and human muscle.
Other unclean animals can transmit infections to humans such as parasitic infection (mainly from undercooked crabs, shrimp or snails).
Other conditions such as salmonella, hepatitis A, cholera or paralytic can be caused by shellfish poisoning. Raw oysters, mussels, and clams are responsible for 85% of all illness caused by eating seafood according to
the FDA. In addition, oceans, lakes, and streams are more and more polluted and full of toxins and heavy metals. Eating aquatic scavengers creatures can be harmful to human health. It is also known that pregnant women, elderly and people with compromised immune systems are warned against eating this kind of animals.

  • Question: “Why does God cares so much about what we eat?”

Answer: God does not only cares about what we eat but he cares about our health in general and therefor he cares about what we do with our body.
I also talk about this subject mentioning 4 amazing reasons why God cares about our health.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!



  1. Naseer

    Hi I blessed for this book , because some people told me being a christian we eat pig.

  2. John

    In Mark 7:19 Jesus speaks of it is not the food we intake that defiles a man
    And in Paul it speaks of not judging some by what they eat

    • admin

      Hello John, thank you for your comment. I understand your explanation of what you have read in the Bible because I was in your shoes a few years ago. What I share is not judgemental but rather the truth that comes straight from the Bible. Indeed we read in MATTHEW 15:11
      “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
      and MARK 7:15: “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.”

      Taken into context —>

      The issue came from the Pharisees tradition of “washing hand” before eating. They had a “test of fellowship”: If you eat the food we legislate, in the way we legislate, washing your hands the way we legislate, you will be considered worthy of fellowship. Jesus didn’t conform to that, and did not demand that His men conform to it either. Jesus is not teaching against washing our hands, neither he is teaching that it doesn’t matter what we eat or drink. He says that what defiles, is the sin that comes from our heart, not the food the food we put in our stomach or the way you wash our hands. And Jesus explicitly said that His “metaphor” was about unwashed food, not unclean food. And on the contrary, Jesus repeat here again about the commandments and the law, and that he is against traditions.

      “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift,
      by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

      And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:1-20

      When it comes to Paul’s message about judging others, I agree with you and here is a post about it:https://thebiblediet.co/eating-drinking-judgement/. But we MUST most of all consider God’s judgement, and indeed he judges us for what we eat.

      First, we have to remember that we are all accountable for what we
      know and I believe that there will be people in heaven who ate
      unclean food because they didn’t know that it was unclean.
      ● “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to
      God.”- Romans 14:12
      But the Bible is clear, there are foods that are an abomination in the
      eyes of God and judgment will come upon those who know and
      ignore God’s law.
      As mentioned in the the pages of my book The Bible Diet, in Leviticus 11,
      God gives us a list of the animals that are an abomination. We also
      saw that this law of unclean and clean animals is still valid to us
      today. Now, let us consider these verses from the
      old and the new testament:
      ● “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the
      gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh,
      and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed
      together, saith the LORD.” – Isaiah 66:17
      ● “A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face;
      that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars
      of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the
      monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of
      abominable things is in their vessels;” – Isaiah 65:3-4
      ● “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon
      the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of
      devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every
      unclean and hateful bird.” – Revelation 18:2
      ● “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers,
      sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have
      their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone,
      which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8
      ● “But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their
      detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense
      their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God.” –
      Ezekiel 11:21.
      The Bible is clear, and there will be a great judgement day. In
      Revelation 20:11-12 we can read:
      ● “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from
      whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there
      was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and
      great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and
      another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the
      dead were judged out of those things which were written in
      the books, according to their works.” – Revelation 20:11-12
      These words may seem hard and unloving, but God truly is love,
      and he is a just God.
      Satan made sin enter our world and sin must be destroyed. God
      loves each one of his children, and He is “not willing that any
      should perish, but that all should come to repentance” -2 Peter
      3:9. But in justice and in love, he has to separate persistent sinners
      from those who love and who serve him, so that sin can be
      destroyed once and for all:
      ● “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and
      of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” –
      Revelation 22:3
      ● “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there
      shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
      shall there be any more pain: for the former things are
      passed away.” – Revelation 21:4
      God invites each one of us to prepare for judgement today
      With God’s help, we all have the opportunity to be cleansed:
      ● “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and
      spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1
      ● “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even
      as he Christ is pure.” – 1 John 3:3.
      There is still time to repent. God is merciful and he calls us to
      repent. But what exactly is repentance? It means to be truly sorry
      for the bad things we have done. If you have difficulties to repent,
      you can ask God for help, so that you will feel sorrow for your sins.
      The Bible says:
      ● “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may
      be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from
      the presence of the Lord;” – Acts 3:19
      ● “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is
      greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified
      of his Son.” – 1 John 1:9
      God can’t wait to forgive us. The only thing we need to do is repent.
      He also tells us to turn away from our sins and to sin no more:
      ● “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” – John
      ● “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his
      commandments.” – 1 John 2:3
      God calls us to trust him:
      ● “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and
      believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall
      not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto
      life.” – John 14:15
      ● “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
      Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
      have everlasting life.” – John 3:16.
      And to be baptised:
      ● “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man
      be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the
      kingdom of God.” – John 3:5
      We can then have the confidence that we will have eternal life:
      ● “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are
      in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
      Spirit.” – Romans 8:1
      ● “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness
      in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this
      world.” – 1 John 4:17

    • Michelle

      Mark 7:19 (Jesus declared all food clean) in parentheses was ADDED by Bible translators.
      If you have red letter Bible where Jesus spoke in red… you’ll find Jesus didn’t say that.
      What’s more…
      If Jesus actually said that phrase… it should have said “I” not “Jesus” declared all food clean.

      Jesus will never allow anyone eat cats, dogs, horses, etc.. Ewwwee.

      The vision Peter received in Acts was written 10 years later. He was confused.
      Remember Peter was there 10 years prior when
      Pharisees confronted Jesus that his disciples didn’t wash hands first before eating bread.
      Peter shouldn’t have been confused at the vision of unclean animals bec Jesus “declared’ all food clean. But Jesus never did.

      Pls read Isaiah 65:1-6 and 66:15-17
      That’s a Future event when Jesus comes back and will destroy many who ate swine, abominable animals & mice.

  3. Chloe Owen

    If as a new believer i misunderstood ate the unclean animal and repented asking forgiveness and turn from it can i be forgiven?

    • admin

      Of course Chloe 🙂 God is so good and merciful, and even if he is a just God, he winks at ignorance.
      Before I became a Christian, I used to eat unclean meat as well, and when I repented God forgave me. Here are some verses for you:
      1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
      Ephesians 1:7 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
      Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God
      Isaiah 1:18 – Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
      John 8:11 – She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

  4. Chloe Owen

    How do we know what is clean fowl it’s thought that duck is a close connection bird to swan?

  5. Anna

    WOW!! The Lord really gave me clarity on what he put on my heart recently! This article literally gives me an answer to every question I had about what foods are unclean and clean and Gods reasoning behind this commandment. Thank you thank you thank you!!! And thank you God for this clarification!!!! Thank you Jesus for reminding us too of the commandments!!!!!


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