Contact Us 713-426-2244

Our Blog

FDA Says Parmesan Cheese Fraud a Growing Concern

Posted by Dan Cogdell | May 03, 2016 | 0 Comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a criminal investigation into a Pennsylvania cheese factory it says has put fillers such as wood pulp and cellulose into its grated parmesan cheese products that are distributed to some of the nation's largest grocery store chains.

The FDA said that it received a tip and then discovered evidence that Castle Cheese has provided cheese labeled as “100% grated Parmesan” that contained no Parmesan cheese for almost 30 years. The cheese was marketed under Target's Market Pantry brand and two other Associate Wholesale brands, Always Save and Best Choice. Testing showed that no Parmesan was used to manufacture these products; instead, the ingredients were a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and cellulose.

Michelle Myrter, president of Castle Cheese, is expected to plead guilty to criminal fraud charges and faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Bloomberg News conducted its own investigation, purchasing grated Parmesan products and having then tested for adulterated content by an independent laboratory. In a report on its findings, Bloomberg said that Walmart's Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese tested at 7.8% cellulose; Jewel-Osco's Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 8.8% cellulose and Whole Foods' 365 brand tested at 0.3% Kraft tested at 3.8% cellulose.

According to the Center for Dairy Research, an acceptable level of cellulose in grated Parmesan cheese is between 2-4%. Bloomberg reported that hard cheeses like Parmesan are more susceptible to having fillers added since they are more expensive to produce.

Bloomberg says the FDA was tipped off by a former Castle Cheese plant manager who was fired by the company in 2012. Castle Cheese filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or [email protected]

About the Author

Dan Cogdell

Principal & Founder Principal and founding attorney at Cogdell Law Firm, Dan Cogdell, is often referred to by his contemporaries as a “Texas trial legend.” He has been practicing criminal defense law for 36 years, during which time he has handled some of the most complex and high-profile cases i...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

The Best Resource You Can Have When Everything Is On The Line.

Start your defense with Cogdell Law Firm.

Cogdell Law Firm, PLLC.
1000 Main St., Suite 2300
Houston, TX 77002