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Have some wood with your Parmesan cheese

Although innovative ways of perpetrating economic fraud are rarely new, media interest brings these stories to the fore and they then become the latest news. This is the case with economic adulteration of cheese with cellulose which was first detected by the US FDA in 2012, but in Feb 2016 received significant media attention in the USA.

Several supermarket samples of grated Parmesan cheese was found by Bloomberg news to contain from 4-8% cellulose a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp. One company now out of business was reported to be marketing a mixture of imitation cheese and trimmings of Swiss, white cheddar, Havarti and mozzarella as grated Parmesan cheese. Nearly all sectors of the food chain are vulnerable to adulteration and regulators are forever having to be more skilful in detecting this economic fraud which damages the competitiveness of the honest food producer.


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