What is the halachic status of food placed under the bed [including sources, please]? Thank you.
One should be careful not to leave food under a bed.
However, post factum, one can be lenient and eat the snacks.
For more details, see the sources below.
The prohibition of leaving food under the bed is because of ruach ra’ah, as the Gemara states (Pesachim 112). The prohibition is ruled by the Shluchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 116.
Because the prohibition is on account of ru’ach ra’ah, it follows that the concept is limited to a bed on which somebody sleeps a “night sleep,” whereas a short nap, for which there is no ruach ra’ah, does not constitute a problem.
Moreover, Darchei Teshuvah (Yoreh De’ah 116) suggests that the problem exists only in a bed which is suitable for cohabitation, but the general custom is to be stringent for all beds.
A further discussion concerns which foods are included in the prohibition. Darchei Teshuvah (116:36) understands that the problem only applies to cooked foods, and this is also suggested by the Binas Adam (cited in Pischei Teshuvah, patially based on the custom of peasants to keep vegetables under the bed). However, the common custom is to be stringent concerning all foods. This is supported (as mentioned in Pischei Teshuvah) by the Gemara in Bava Basra (58a), which states that a Torah scholar should keep only his shoes under the bed, Rashi explaining that this is because of the ruach ra’ah which dwells on food.
The common custom is to be careful of storing foods under a bed, irrespective of whether the food is on the floor/ground or not. However, a number of sources indicate that the prohibition applies only when the food is on an earthen ground, and Tzitz Eliezer (Vol. 10, no. 35) relies on these sources (Yafeh Lev 3:116, sec. 6; see Darkei Teshuvah 37) with regard to food under a bed on a ship. Other poskim mention there is greater leniency concerning food under the bed on a tiled floor.
Bedieved, even if food is placed under a bed Pischei Teshuva cites from Shevus Ya’akov (2:105) that one may be lenient (although Binas Adam 63 writes that one should be stringent, citing from the Vilna Gaon who was very particular about this matter), and She’arim Metzuyanim be-Halachah points out that the Beit Yosef writes that in all cases of rauch ra’ah, the food is permitted bedieved. Certainly, where significant loss is involved, one can be lenient (see Malbim, in Artzos Ha-Chaim; see also numerous sources cited in Yabia Omer, Vol. 1, Yoreh De’ah 105).
The Chazon Ish is quoted as advising that the food be given to others that were not aware of the fact that the food was stored under a bed.
When food is not directly on an earth ground, but on a tiled floor, and the more so in a box, one can certainly rely on the lenient opinions on a bedieved level. However, as noted, the common custom is to be wary of keeping food under a bed even in such circumstances, and one should generally be careful not to keep any foods under a bed.