The Parmesan that Americans eat contains wood
The Parmesan that Americans eat contains wood

Campali instead of Campari. The stuffed ciabatta that becomes a Pantofola. Makkaroni, garlic, oglio and chilli pepper and the saga of hard foods: genovesse punishments, matriciano punishments and cazzocolada.

All true: with these and other horrors, Italian Sounding delights us every day, an evil practice of tampering with food products so that words, brands, colors and images recall the profitable Made in Italy. Rogue with a sensational turnover: over 70 billion euros every year.

But it's one thing to cripple, it's another to slip cellulose and wood pulp in the tarot copy of Parmesan Cheese, the infamous Parmesan.

It all stems from an article published by the American news agency Bloomberg, after an investigation launched in 2012 by the FDA, the food safety body in the United States, on the use of cellulose and other filling ingredients in the production of grated Parmesan by the Castle Cheese Inc, a giant that supplies major supermarket chains in over 30 US states.


The results on the presence of cellulose, an additive widespread in some products of the food industry, especially beverages, are amazing, but with a maximum permitted threshold ranging from 2 to 4%, beyond which it is considered carcinogenic.

The grated Parmesan sold by the Jewel-Osco chain contained 8.8% cellulose, Wall-Mart's equivalent product 7.8%, while the grated cheese distributed by Whole Foods, an American benchmark for natural food and organic identity, just 0.3% of the total product.

In addition to cellulose Bloomberg reports the presence of wood pulp: a compound of dairy products, paper and pulverized wood residues.

In December 2015, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium asked the European Union for a law to regulate overseas protected nomenclatures. An even more pressing need after this case, is it right that wood-based cheeses bear the name Parmesan, even if translated?

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