There has been a lot of speculation and controversy around whether or not wood chips are added to Parmesan cheese. Some people claim that it is a common practice in the cheese industry, while others argue that it is simply a myth.

What is Parmesan Cheese

Before we dive into this debate, let’s first understand what Parmesan cheese is. Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese that originated in Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and aged for at least 12 months, although some varieties can be aged for up to 36 months.

Due to its nutty and slightly sweet flavor, as well as its ability to be grated finely, Parmesan cheese is commonly used as a topping for pasta dishes and salads. It is also often used in cooking to add flavor to sauces and soups.

The Myth of Wood Chips in Parmesan Cheese

The rumor about wood chips being added to Parmesan cheese originated from an article published by Bloomberg in 2016. The article claimed that some manufacturers were using cellulose powder derived from wood pulp as a filler in their grated Parmesan cheese products.

This claim sparked outrage among consumers who felt deceived by the manufacturers. However, it was later revealed that the use of cellulose powder was not unique to the cheese industry and was actually approved by the FDA as a safe food additive.

The Truth About Cellulose Powder

Cellulose powder is derived from plant fibers and can be found in many food products such as shredded cheese, breads, and even ice cream. It is used as an anti-caking agent and to improve texture in processed foods.

In the case of Parmesan cheese, cellulose powder is added to prevent clumping and to ensure that the cheese remains free-flowing. However, it is important to note that not all Parmesan cheese products contain cellulose powder. It is up to the manufacturer’s discretion whether or not they choose to use it.

The Importance of Reading Labels

If you are concerned about the use of cellulose powder in your Parmesan cheese, it is important to read the label before making a purchase. This will allow you to determine if the product contains any additional additives or fillers that you may want to avoid.

In Conclusion

While there may be some truth to the claim that wood chips are added to Parmesan cheese, it is not a widespread practice in the industry. The use of cellulose powder derived from plant fibers is a common practice and has been approved by the FDA as safe for consumption.

At the end of the day, it is up to each individual consumer to decide what they are comfortable consuming. By reading labels and doing research on food additives, we can make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies.