Recently, the results of a study conducted by Bloomberg Business revealed that there is a higher percentage of cellulose in some cheeses than is indicated on the label and allowed by the government. Cellulose is a plant fiber that is often added to cheese to prevent clumping. The industry standard allows for 2-4% of a product to consist of cellulose.
Many headlines deeming cellulose as “wood-pulp” aka the villain of our cheese, fail to mention the variety of common food products that we eat everyday that already have cellulose in them (pre-made smoothies, breaded chicken nuggets, fried fish, pancakes). The real issue at hand here is the lack of transparency from food companies regarding nutrition labels and the disregard of following guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This week’s news roundup brings to you a collection of articles related to cellulose in our foods.
Why People Are Freaking Out About ‘Wood Pulp’ In Parmesan Cheese. Huffington Post. “[Cellulose] is often considered "wood pulp" because manufacturers grind up wood to extract cellulose from. Wood is from trees, trees are plants, plants have cellulose. Only in a world of clicky headline escalation would the logical fallacy that cellulose is the same as wood pulp carry any weight.”
Yes, parmesan cheese you sprinkle on pasta may contain wood pulp. USA Today. “Some companies that promise 100% parmesan cheese, have been adding cellulose, a common food additive made from wood pulp, to their cheese products, according to an independent study, launched by Bloomberg News.”
From McDonald's To Organic Valley, You're Probably Eating Wood Pulp. NPR. “If you buy shredded cheeses, including brands such as Organic Valley and Sargento, or hit the drive-through at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie, or douse some ribs with bottled barbecue sauce, there's likely some cellulose that's been added to your food.”
Parmesan cheese is not what it seems. The Washington Post. “Increasingly, labels, which are supposed to allow customers to make more informed decisions, are instead turning into advertising vehicles, bending the truth in ways neither consumers nor the government appreciates.”