If you’ve ever enjoyed a bowl of pasta with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, you might have wondered about the authenticity of this popular Italian cheese. Rumors have circulated for years that some manufacturers add sawdust to their Parmesan cheese to cut costs and increase profits. But is there any truth to this claim

What is Parmesan Cheese

Before we dive into the question of sawdust in Parmesan cheese, let’s first understand what this type of cheese is. Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in Italy and is typically aged for at least 12 months before it’s ready for consumption.

The Truth About Sawdust in Parmesan Cheese

Now let’s address the elephant in the room – do they put sawdust in Parmesan cheese The short answer is no.

Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be made using three ingredients – cow’s milk, rennet (an enzyme used to coagulate milk), and salt. According to Italian law, no other additives or preservatives are allowed when making this type of cheese.

So where did the rumor about sawdust come from Some manufacturers use cellulose powder as an anti-clumping agent when processing grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. This powder is derived from wood pulp and can give off a similar texture to sawdust when sprinkled on top of food.

How to Ensure You’re Buying Authentic Parmesan Cheese

If you want to make sure that you’re buying authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano without any additives or fillers like sawdust or cellulose powder, there are a few things you can look for:

  • Check the label – Authentic Parmesan cheese will have “Parmigiano-Reggiano” on the label, along with the producer’s name and location.
  • Look for the DOP seal – This is a certification from the European Union that ensures the cheese was made using traditional methods within a specific geographic region of Italy.
  • Grate it yourself – If possible, buy a block of Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself before using it in your recipes. This way, you can ensure that no additives or fillers have been added to your cheese.

The Bottom Line

While there have been rumors circulating about sawdust being added to Parmesan cheese, this claim is simply not true for authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano. However, some manufacturers may use cellulose powder as an anti-clumping agent when processing grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. To ensure you’re buying authentic Parmesan cheese without any additives or fillers, look for the DOP seal and check the label before making your purchase.