Your Parmesan Cheese Is Probably Made From Wood Pulp

Tina Rivera
(Photo: OBSEV / Shutterstock)

In a literal case of “Who cut the cheese?” some manufacturers of Parmesan cheese are being criminally prosecuted for a sheisty offense that involves advertising packages of the food as 100 percent real Parmesan, when it's actually being made from nasty fillers and lesser versions of the real thing!

Working on a tip from an ex-cheese factory employee, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cracked down on the biggest case of Parmesan fraud by Castle Cheese—a cheese factory in Pennsylvania that distributes to big names such as Target. Upon investigation, the FDA found that Castle Cheese, which claimed to make 100 percent Parmesan, actually included NO Parmesan in their product, and instead combined wood pulp fillers with less expensive cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, and mozzarella. That sh*t’s gross.

According to the FDA, Castle Cheese has been guilty of making fake Parmesan for nearly 30 years, which can lead to a $100,000 fine and up to a year of imprisonment for the company’s president, Michelle Myrter.


Castle isn’t the only company being accused of doctoring cheese. It is estimated that 40 percent of all grated Parmesan is made up of false product. And according to a subsidiary of the Dairy Farmers of America, only 1/3 of all cheese labels are accurate.

Many cheeses from well-known markets include cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp that is also found in paper. While acceptable levels range from 2-4 percent, Bloomberg found that grated Parmesan from Wal-Mart registered at 7.8 percent cellulose, while Whole Foods 365, which didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, tested at .3 percent.

While it is safe to say all of our experiences with Parmesan have now been exposed as a lie, the FDA is working on tighter regulations to protect innocent consumers in the United States from future cheese-fraud criminals.