Understandably, Parmesan cheese is not carved in a piece of wood, but the fact is that wood pulp is one of the ingredients used. And sometimes, there's not even the slightest trace of Parmesan in Parmesan. In a recent article, Bloomberg related that the FDA investigated a cheese factory in Pennsylvania, back in November 2012. The results were overwhelming: Castle Cheese Inc. 100% real Parmesan showed no trace of the famous Italian cheese, and instead was filled with cheap cheeses and wood pulp, aka cellulose. And the cheese factory was supplying it to many supermarket chains in the US.
As Bloomberg explains, cellulose is a harmless additive, a reasonable level being 2 to 4 percent. But what about the other Parmesan cheeses sold out there? Bloomberg had some tested by an independent laboratory and found out that "Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8% cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8%, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3%. Kraft had 3.8%." Ouch.
All companies are now investigating their Parmesan products but Walmart already faces a lawsuit filed last week by an unhappy customer, claiming that he bought the brand's grated cheese because it said on the label it was 100 percent cheese. Chances are, it's only the beginning, hopefully for the benefit of the actual Parmesan producers and the cheese connoisseurs.
Photo: Cyclonebill / Wikimedia
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