Have you ever wondered what goes into making that delicious Parmesan cheese sprinkled on your pasta or salad? There are some rumors circulating that wood shavings are added to this cheese. Is there any truth to this claim?

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese made from cow’s milk and aged for at least 12 months. It originates from the Parma region in Italy and has been made for over 900 years.

Wood Shavings in Parmesan Cheese – Fact or Fiction?

The rumor that wood shavings are added to Parmesan cheese has been around for a while. It stems from the fact that cellulose, a natural polymer found in plants, is sometimes used as an anti-caking agent in grated Parmesan cheese.

Cellulose comes from a variety of sources, including wood pulp. However, it’s important to note that cellulose from wood pulp is not the same as wood shavings.

According to the FDA regulations on food labeling, manufacturers can add up to 2% of cellulose to grated cheeses like Parmesan. The purpose of adding cellulose is to prevent clumping and improve the texture of the cheese. It’s a common practice in the food industry and isn’t unique to Parmesan cheese.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that there are no wood shavings added to real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The use of cellulose in grated Parmesan cheese is not a health concern either since it’s an indigestible fiber that adds no nutritional value.

The Truth About Other Additives

While there are no wood shavings in authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, it’s worth noting that some store-bought grated parmesan may contain other additives like salt and preservatives. These additives can affect the taste and quality of the cheese, so it’s always best to read the label and choose a high-quality brand.


In conclusion, the rumor that wood shavings are added to Parmesan cheese is false. While some grated Parmesan cheese products may contain cellulose as an anti-caking agent, it’s not the same as wood shavings. When buying Parmesan cheese, always choose a reputable brand and read the label to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product without any unwanted additives.