The Parmesan cheese you sprinkle on your pasta could be wood


The cheese police are on the case.

Acting on a tip, agents of the Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.

They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.

One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the- headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti- clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Yummy. :ehh:


Meh. I buy only the good stuff. And it IS yummy.


“real” parm cheese costs at least $12/lb US

pay much less than that…

well you get what you pay for :frowning:


Sounds like fraud to me.


An Italian would have noticed the fraud immediately:coffeeread::onpatrol:


Castle Cheese is the company, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them.

Dollar stores have a “cheap Parmesan” one can buy, I know it’s second rate but I don’t know if it would be this bad.


Its the pre-grated stuff that sits on shelves rather than in a refrigerated area that I stay away from.


Parmesan, olive oil… Are no Italian foods sacred anymore?


As another poster said “you get what you pay for” I have been an opponent of the “sprinkle” Parmesan cheese for many years. While I am not a professionally trained chef I am French trained in culinary arts. Never ever use the shaky stuff from the can . True Parmesan cheese is very expensive . However it is much worth it


Whenever anything related to Parmesan is a news story, I’m reminded that Samuel Pepys, during the Great Fire of London, buried his parmesan cheese in his garden because (apart from his wife, he wrote in his diary!) it was more or less his most valuable possession and he wanted to protect it.

I’m v much with you on the worth-it front :thumbsup:


I’m American trained in the culinary art of eating. I eat all kinds of parmesan, and if it wood pulp, it’s very tasty wood pulp.


Compared to the real thing, it is wood. I’m not Italian, but my family lived there for four years. Same with mozzarella. Actually, some of the best mozzarella I had from a generic box store was from Costco a few years ago. It was much fresher than most stuff available.


Wood pulp. It’s interesting sometimes to read the USDA “toleration” levels of various adulterants, including, say, the number of rodent hairs and insect parts it will tolerate in prepared foods.

But not an appetizing read.


lol, an Italian would never buy grated cheese in a can :smiley:

  1. Parmigiano Reggiano is imported from Italy, and the rind is embossed repeatedly with the name Parmigiano Reggiano. My local Italian market sells it for 15.99 per pound. It’s best to buy a piece and grate it as you go. You can also buy a tub of it already grated in the fridge section, or you can ask the grocer to grate it for you.
    The link has a picture of what it should look like. Also, the ingredients are milk, rennet and salt. That’s all.

  2. Parmigiano Reggiano’s tasty cousin is Grana Padano. It contains 4 ingredients, milk, rennet, salt, and lysozyme it’s a natural antibiotic enzyme.

  3. Then there is Pecorino Romano. It’s a sharper cheese, slightly more economic than parmigiano. It’s very tasty on pasta. It is a sheep milk cheese, Its ingredients are sheeps milk, sheep rennet and salt.

The stuff that’s in a can? No. No. No, and No.


maybe if I needed a door stop or paperweight or something.


What’s the big deal? it’s in all shredded cheese. Otherwise shredded cheese becomes settles into solid cheese before you buy it.

Btw, “cellulose fiber” is in a lot of foods. Particularly low carb or diet foods you thought were made of flour. Read the labels.


A little fiber never hurt anyone. :smiley:


I get my stuff in block form when I can and do the shredding myself.


Now I’m extra glad that I buy real parmesan cheese and grate it myself.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit