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FDA Cracks Down On Grated Parmesan Tainted With Cellulose

February 16, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Pennsylvania company Castle Cheese Inc. is being investigated by the FDA for adulterating its grated Parmesan cheese with cheap fillers such as wood pulp prior to distribution to grocery chains. According to the agency, some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling their products by not providing accurate data on the amount of anti-clumping cellulose being used, or by not mentioning that they contain less expensive cheddar cheese instead of Romano. A safe level of cellulose in grated Parmesan is two to four percent. Tests sponsored by Bloomberg found levels as high as 8.8 percent at one grocery chain, and 7.8 percent at Walmart. Kraft Grated Parmesan came in at 3.8 percent cellulose. Castle Cheese President Michelle Myrter is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges this month, and faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Lydia Mulvany, "The Parmesan cheese you sprinkle on your penne could be wood", Bloomberg, February 16, 2016, © Bloomberg LP
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