Yes, bacteria is considered vegan.
It might seem strange at first, since we talk about things like bacteria and yeast as being “alive”, but there are 2 main reasons why it’s still vegan. (Yeast is also vegan.)
Side note: a term like “deactivated” is probably more accurate and often used for yeasts.
Bacteria is An Organism, But Not an Animal
There are 5 or 6 kingdoms of life depending on who you ask:
- Archaea (not always included)
Bacteria is actually its own special classification of organisms. It does not fall under the animalia kingdom (i.e. animals), and it’s animals that vegans don’t eat.
Bacteria Can’t Feel
Even if an organism wasn’t an animal, vegans would still care if it could feel pain.
But bacteria cannot feel pain, or anything. They’re not sentient at all.
How do we know?
Bacteria have no semblance of a nervous system. They are incredibly simple organisms, even simpler than the plants that we vegans eat.
So yes, you can wash your hands and kill bacteria, and eat probiotic foods (if they’re vegan) and still be 100% vegan.