New FDA tests show that Parmesan cheese is actually just cleverly disguised wood pulp, also known as paper.
In terms of white powders, there's only one that we do on the regular: 100 percent pure Parmesan fucking CHEESE.
The precious, tangy topping makes its way onto everything we consume from salad to meat to pasta, but we're also totally not opposed to eating it raw, feverishly, in our underwear. It's a very special symbiosis; us and queso de parma.
But now, a nightmarish FDA investigation has revealed that our beloved cheese of choice isn't really Parmesan at all. Instead, it's a wily blend of cheaper cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella and also … wood pulp. Wood pulp, for the initiated, is also known as "paper." Wood pulp is also used by IBM to make computer parts, and by the US Army to make body amour and ballistic glass. Mmm, body armor. So delicious on a nice lasagna.
The FDA's tests showed that many products labeled as "100 percent Parmesan" routinely contain very little actual Parmesan, and instead are made mostly of cut-rate substitutes used as filler.
The biggest offender of this Parmesan trickery is Castle Cheese, who dominated the cutthroat American Parmesan market for over 30 years, supplying product to the Market Pantry brand at Target and two others for Associated Wholesale, the country's second largest retail wholesaler. But tests revealed that Castle Cheese's parm contained "no Parmesan cheese at all," despite claiming 100 purity on their labels.
This is pretty common for large-scale producers. One good-guy cheese-maker fighting for stricter labeling laws told Bloomberg he estimates 40 percent of Parmesan isn't even a cheese product, and that a Dairy Farmers of America subsidiary claimed its tests showed that only 30 percent of cheese labels are accurate.
To test these claims, Bloomberg ran some lab tests on several brands of "100 percent" grated Parmesan to see how much cellulose, the main ingredient in wood pulp and paper, they contained. The results were psychotherapy-worthy:
"Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn't list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent."
Considering cheese has the same effect on the human body as addictive narcotics, this Parmesan purity debacle could have major implications for cheese addicts. For one, it could signify they're not actually addicted to cheese, but the cost-cutting fillers in them. But, it could also mean their delicious addiction is more mental than physical. Cheese addiction: let's get through it, together.
But you know what? At the end of the day, wood isn't such a bad thing to eat, is it? Trees are plants and plants are meant to be eaten. And, cellulose, the compound that wood pulp is comprised of, is present in every plant, like spinach or celery or avocado. So really, by adding wood pulp as a filler to cut costs on parmesan production, aren't big cheese companies doing you a favor? They essentially made you a salad, but inside cheese. Maybe it's just us, but … seems like there are worse things in the world?