PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Your grocery store parmesan cheese could contain non-dairy filler ingredients like wood pulp according to a new report.
Bloomberg reports that the US Food and Drug Administration investigated a Slippery Rock cheese factory named Castle Cheese in 2012.
The FDA reports they found the company was doctoring the “100% real parmesan” with filler ingredients like wood pulp, and cheaper cheeses such as cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella.
Bloomberg investigated other store-bought grated parmesan and discovered high percentages of cellulose – essentially powdered wood pulp and the main ingredient in paper – in four different brands.
They were Jewel-Osco which had 8.8% cellulose, Wal-Mart Inc.’s Great Value which had 7.8%.
Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t have cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but Bloomberg says it still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.
A cheese technologist at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin, told Bloomberg that cellulose is a safe additive and an acceptable level is 2% to 4%.
Nutritionists also found that cellulose wasn’t necessary dangerous, and is considered fiber.
Castle supplies thousands of retail stores in 30 states with their product, Bloomberg reported, adding that the company’s president, Michelle Myrter, is set to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.