Many people enjoy adding Parmesan cheese to their pasta dishes, salads, and other culinary creations. However, have you ever wondered how much powdered cellulose is in Parmesan cheese? Let’s dive into this topic and explore the truth behind this common food additive.

The Controversy Surrounding Cellulose in Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is known for its rich flavor and nutty aroma. It has been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries. However, in recent years, there has been some controversy regarding the presence of powdered cellulose in Parmesan cheese.

What is powdered cellulose?

Powdered cellulose is a white, odorless powder that is derived from plant fibers. It is commonly used as an anti-caking agent and thickener in various food products. Cellulose is naturally found in plants and provides structure to their cell walls.

How much powdered cellulose is allowed in Parmesan cheese?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits the use of powdered cellulose as a safe food additive. In fact, it allows up to 2% of powdered cellulose to be added to grated cheeses like Parmesan.

The Purpose of Powdered Cellulose in Parmesan Cheese

Anti-caking agent:

  • Powdered cellulose helps prevent clumping and ensures that the grated Parmesan cheese remains free-flowing.
  • It absorbs any excess moisture present in the cheese, thus maintaining its texture and quality over time.

Thickening agent:

  • When added to liquid-based recipes like sauces or soups, powdered cellulose helps thicken the mixture and enhance its consistency.

The Safety of Powdered Cellulose in Parmesan Cheese

The use of powdered cellulose in Parmesan cheese is considered safe by regulatory bodies such as the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). These organizations have set strict guidelines regarding food additives to ensure consumer safety.

It’s important to note that powdered cellulose is a common ingredient found in many processed foods, including shredded cheeses, bread, and even ice cream. When used in appropriate amounts, it poses no health risks.


In conclusion, Parmesan cheese may contain up to 2% of powdered cellulose as an anti-caking and thickening agent. This food additive is considered safe by regulatory authorities and plays a crucial role in maintaining the quality and texture of grated Parmesan cheese. So next time you sprinkle some Parmesan on your pasta, you can do so with confidence!