Brace yourselves, parmesan cheese aficionados. Y’all are in for a rude awakening. Yesterday, the FDA alerted the American masses to serious parmesan deception: products labeled as "100 percent parmesan" are not entirely made out of parmesan cheese. Instead, they are composed of other cheeses—mozzarella, cheddar, and Swiss—and a surprisingly high amount of wood pulp. Wood pulp!
Although it isn't unusual for manufacturers to use a small amount of wood pulp as "a bulking agent," several companies abused the acceptable limit set by the FDA—two percent—by adding large amounts of it in their products. Currently, the FDA is prosecuting a large supplier called Castle Cheese who have been making super shady parmesan cheese for the past 30 years. Yikes.
According to Bloomberg, Castle Cheese president Michelle Myrter will supposedly plead guilty later this month and may face charges that could send her to prison for a year, on top of a $100,000 fine. Bloomberg also ran their own lab tests and found that a large percent of cellulose, which is the primary sugar in plants and the main ingredient of paper, can be found in many popular cheese brands. "Cellulose is the main sugar in plants — a polysaccharide that humans aren’t equipped to digest," Geek.com wrote.
All in all, Bloomberg's results were shocking:
Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn't list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.
“We strongly believe that there is no cellulose present,” Blaire Kniffin, a Whole Foods Market Inc. spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. “But we are investigating this matter.”
Although eating grilled cheese sandwiches may "get [you] more action in the bedroom," it won't hurt to be a bit more cautious the next time you purchase cheese at the grocery store.