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Food Prep

Walmart sued over allegations of wood in parmesan cheese


The retail giant was sued for selling cans of "100 percent" grated parmesan actually contain up to 10 percent cellulose. (Walmart)

Walmart is being sued for selling parmesan cheese labeled as 100 percent cheese, which instead contained wood filler.

According to Bloomberg, Moschetta v. Walmart Stores Inc. was filed at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York on behalf of customer Marc Moschetta. He claims that the 100 percent representation of the Walmart's cheese "was false and mis-characterized the amount and percentage of Parmesan cheese in the container."

The move comes after an earlier investigation by Fortune based on a report by the Food and Drug Administration that found that one cheesemaker, Castle Cheese Inc., made its real parmesan with a combination of Swiss, white cheddar, Havarti, mozzarella, and cellulose, a filler made from wood pulp that acts as an anti-clumping agent.

The company was selling Market Pantry brand 100 % Grated Parmesan Cheese at Target stores, and Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese and Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese through Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. and its subsidiaries, supplying 3,400 stores in 30 states.

Castle Cheese ultimately filed for bankruptcy, and its president Michelle Myrter is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges this month to charges related to the cheese issue.

Walmart Great Value band was also found to contain other ingredients.

Cellulose called‚wood pulp‚ because it is extracted from ground-up wood, is an FDA approved additive for consumption in small amounts and is actually pretty standard in many shredded cheese varieties and other foodstuffs such as ice cream, puffed snack foods, baked goods and more.

There was reportedly as much as 10 percent cellulose, which is a wood-based agent for anti-clumping, found in Walmart Great Value, according to the complaint. Moschetta wants a class action lawsuit in order to press Walmart on the matter, Bloomberg reported