Cellulose is often used in grated cheese products to keep it from clumping, but a years-long investigation by the Food and Drug Administration found that one company was shilling grated Parmesan product that contained a lot of wood pulp and zero Parmesan cheese.
Bloomberg News tested other brands in its investigation, including Jewel-Osco’s Essential Everyday 100% Parmesan Cheese, and found high levels of cellulose in some of those products. For example, Jewel-Osco’s offering had a level of 8.8% cellulose. As much as 4% cellulose is deemed acceptable to meet the FDA’s regulations for what can bear the label Parmesan.
The grocery chain recalled the product from all of its 185 stores on Wednesday, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg. It’s phasing out the brand and replacing it with its Jewel-Osco Signature Brand.
“Our supplier of the Parmesan cheese is aware of the issue, and we look forward to learning more about their investigation,” the spokeswoman said, without identifying the supplier in question.
Bloomberg says other retailers with Parmesan products that contained more than 4% cellulose said they’re also looking into things, including Walmart.