Parmesan cheese is a popular ingredient used in many dishes around the world. It is known for its sharp, nutty taste and its ability to enhance the flavor of any dish.
However, there have been rumors circulating that Parmesan cheese contains wood. In this article, we will explore this claim and determine if there is any truth to it.
What Is Parmesan Cheese?
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 before it can be sold as Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The production process involves heating the milk and adding rennet to coagulate it into curds. The curds are then cut into small pieces and cooked before being placed into molds to form the familiar shape of a wheel of Parmesan cheese.
Does Parmesan Cheese Contain Wood?
The short answer is no – Parmesan cheese does not contain wood. However, there is some truth to this claim that has been circulating for years.
In order to prevent clumping during the production process and to prevent caking once the cheese has been grated, manufacturers often add cellulose powder to their grated Parmesan cheese. Cellulose powder is a common food additive derived from wood pulp or other plant material. It helps keep grated cheese from sticking together and makes it easier to sprinkle on top of dishes.
While it may sound alarming that a type of wood pulp is used in food production, cellulose powder is generally considered safe by regulatory agencies such as the FDA and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). In fact, many other common food products contain cellulose powder as an ingredient.
Is Cellulose Powder Harmful?
No – cellulose powder is not harmful in small amounts. It is considered safe for human consumption and is commonly used in a variety of food products. However, some people may be allergic to cellulose or have difficulty digesting it, which could lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
In conclusion, Parmesan cheese does not contain wood. However, grated Parmesan cheese may contain cellulose powder as an ingredient to prevent caking and clumping.
Cellulose powder is considered safe for human consumption in small amounts and is commonly found in many other food products. So the next time you sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on your pasta or pizza, you can rest assured that you are not consuming any wood – just delicious cheesy goodness!