What is the Real Problem with Having Wood Pulp in Our Cheese?

What is the Real Problem with Having Wood Pulp in Our Cheese?

Posted By Golomb & Honik, P.C. || 29-Mar-2016

Recently, the FDA uncovered clear evidence that many cheese manufacturers were cutting their 100% real Parmesan cheese with wood pulp fillers and cheaper substitutes. The FDA investigation found that Castle Cheese, Inc. used wood pulp or cellulose, along with a mix of cheap cheddar, in its 100% Parmesan cheese. As a result, the President of Castle Cheese is facing hefty fines and even prison time because of directly violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The History of Wood Filler in Food

In the 1970s, companies began adding cellulose to their products as a way to bulk up their products, provide better texture and a creamy 'mouth feel' in reduced fat foods. Companies quickly realized that they could also increase their profits by adding bulk and cellulose fiber to their foods in the form of this wood sawdust.

Today wood pulp, or cellulose, is actually a very common filler used in a variety of products. It is not against FDA rules and regulations to use this in food products. Cheese companies add cellulose to shredded cheese varieties to keep the grated product from clumping.

What's the Real Problem with Wood Filler

But what is the REAL problem with having wood pulp filler in our cheese? The answer may not quite be what you were expecting.

The legality has to do with the product being improperly labeled. The FDA's Code of Federal Regulations specifically states that all ingredients should be listed on the label. The FDA allows grated or shredded cheese to contain up to 4% cellulose. Yet, marketing and labeling a product as 100% Parmesan cheese is misleading to consumers when that product contains up to 4% wood filler. This is a form of consumer fraud.

In addition, companies that use wood filler in their cheeses are competing directly with companies that do not use such fillers. By adding fillers to their cheese products, they are adding bulk to their product for pennies – and raking in a higher profit at the expense of defrauding the public.

Last month, Wal-Mart was sued after consumers claimed that chain was defrauding customers with its Great Value brand "100% Grated Parmesan Cheese." Independent found that the Wal-Mart brand cheese contained as much as 10 percent cellulose. Well above the FDA limits.

What Can YOU Do As a Consumer

Consumers can hold these negligent manufacturers responsible for their actions by buying cheese by the block and shredding it themselves. They can also stop buying reduced fat versions of whole foods and seek to buy organic whenever possible. Read labels carefully and if you are unsure of an ingredient – don't purchase that product.

In addition, consumers can file consumer class action lawsuits against these companies – holding them legally accountable for their actions. More and more consumers are demanding transparency in their food labels and truthful advertising. This call for transparency and truthfulness has prompted many manufacturers to change they way they manufacture products – leading to positive changes for consumers across the country.

Contact Our Philadelphia Consumer Class Action Lawyers

If you or someone you love has suffered because of a deceptive food label or misleading advertising claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit. To learn more about your consumer rights and legal options, call the Philadelphia consumer lawyers at Golomb & Honik, P.C. today.

Our experienced class action lawyers have represented consumers and their families across the United States in their quest for justice. We believe in holding negligent agricultural and product companies responsible for their actions and fight aggressively for all consumers. To schedule a free consultation, call the Philadelphia class action lawyers at Golomb & Honik, P.C. today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.

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