So, there was some disturbing news last week regarding a very popular grated cheese, Parmesan. A Bloomberg article’s subtitle read, “some brands promising 100 percent purity contained no Parmesan at all.” Yep, you read that correctly, NO PARMESAN AT ALL!!! Well, then what’s in the jar of grated cheese you are sprinkling on your pasta?! Wood pulp. Yep, you again read that correctly. The article went on to say that some of the grated Parmesan bottles have been mislabeled by the suppliers. The bottles of pure grated Parmesan you think you are purchasing and using have been filled with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from woody pulp, or cheap cheddar.
There is an estimate that 20% of the U.S. production ($375 million worth in sale!) is mislabeled, and 40% of the product in the bottles wasn’t actually a cheese product.
Want to know how your brand scored? See below for just a few brands and the percent cellulose.
–Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco = 8.8 percent cellulose
–Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese = 7.8 percent cellulose
–Kraft = 3.8 percent cellulose
–Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent
So, what’s the best way to get 100% shredded cheese?! Buy a block of Parmesan and grate or shred it yourself. Sure it will take a bit longer to prepare your meal, but wouldn’t you rather a few extra minutes compared to eating wood pulp?! You can grate/shred by had or you can put in your food processor.