Parmesan cheese sold at stores from Walmart and Whole Foods might not be what you think it is

A new report shows your favourite parmesan cheese may have contain some disconcerting ingredients.

Bloomberg News tested store-bought grated cheeses for cellulose, revealing that all of the cheeses tested contained the anti-clumping additive made of wood pulp.

Walmart’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8% cellulose, while Jewel-Osco’s Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese clocked in at 8.8%. Kraft had 3.8%.

Cheese makers and retailers told Bloomberg they were further investigating the test results.

Cellulose is a safe additive, Bloomberg reports, listed as an ingredient in these “100%” cheeses. However, an acceptable level is 2% to 4%.

Whole Foods does not list cellulose as an ingredient, but the Whole Foods 365 parmesan tested at 0.3% cellulose. The company told Bloomberg that they are investigating the matter, but believe the test may have been a false positive.

Cheese makers often mix in higher levels of the wood pulp when making cheese because it is more inexpensive than truly pure parmesan.

The FDA is in the process of investigating another cheese marker: Castle Cheese Inc. The company’s president is scheduled this month to plead guilty to pumping products full of cellulose and using cheaper cheddar instead of real Romano.

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