Removing Bugs from Veggies
‘‘For I am Gd who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your Gd, and you shall be holy as I am Holy’’ (ויקרא י"א ,מ"ה)
The prohibition against consuming various forbidden שרצים—vermin, precedes this declaration. Our Sages explain that our nobility and life purpose is linked to avoiding the consumption of vermin. In this vein Rashi cites תורת כהנים: ‘‘who brought you up from the land of Egypt’’ not the usual, "who brought you out of Egypt"; Gd considers it worth bringing us OUT of Egypt if only to bring us UP from the defiling atmosphere of Egypt where they ate these disgusting things.
What is a שרץ?
A land שרץ is defined as any living creature which appears to "slither - שורץ", to move as one unit when it runs; an insect or even a mouse.
OU declares - Our experience has shown that if the leaves are washed properly, no insects will be found. [Well of course, the definition of a "proper" wash is that it removes all insects]
The Science of Washing Vegetables.
Water does not penetrate tiny crevices. This is due to what is commonly known as "surface tension". Surface tension is what creates a meniscus, where water actually rises above the rim of a cup. A droplet of water forms a spherical shape and defies gravity because of its surface tension. Similarly water will run over a leaf without penetrating the crevices which an insect uses for its grip permitting it to remain firmly attached as water washes over it. By adding a surfactant, soap or detergent, the surface tension is broken, the water does not form droplets but falls flat, it does penetrate into the crevices and it does wash away the insect.
Only tiny amounts of surfactants are required. Proprietary vegetable washes have recommended dosages. Dish detergent may also be safely used; add just enough so that the tiniest hint of bubbles appear in the washing water.