Lydia Mulvany for Bloomberg – The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood:
According to the FDA’s report on Castle, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “no parmesan cheese was used to manufacture” the Market Pantry brand 100% grated Parmesan Cheese, sold at Target Corp. stores, and Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese and Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, sold by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which along with its subsidiaries supplies 3,400 retail stores in 30 states. Instead, there was a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and cellulose, according to the FDA.
NO PARMESAN CHEESE was in their product labelled 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese!
“Wood” or cellulose is a safe additive, used to keep the shredded/grated cheese from sticking to itself and clumping up.
Cellulose is a safe additive, and an acceptable level is 2 percent to 4 percent, according to Dean Sommer, a cheese technologist at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin.
Mislabeling of food products is a huge issue for those who have food allergies.
The FDA warning letter to Castle Cheese also discusses other previous violations
We acknowledge that on November 14, 2012, as stated in your December 21, 2012 response letter, your firm ceased production in the areas of the plant where Listeria had previously been detected, instituted measures to seal the room, and established a protocol for entry, exit, and working in the production room. Additionally, we acknowledge that (b)(4) environmental swabs were collected from the floor surface in the cook room on November 14, 2012, and sent to (b)(4) for microbiological analysis of Listeria species, and that those results were negative. Your response also states that on December 14, 2012, the food contact surfaces for (b)(4) were swabbed and found negative for Coliform, E.coli, Staph, Listeria, as well as yeast and mold. However, your response fails to identify what type of testing was used to determine these negative analytical results.
The FDA and Castle have resolved the violations, as confirmed in a close out letter dated April 18, 2014.