Acting on a tip, agents of the Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.
They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.
One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the- headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti- clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Continue reading: The Parmesan cheese you sprinkle on your pasta could be wood
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: Here’s the warning letter sent by the FDA to Castle President Michelle Myrter in 2013: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2013/ucm363201.htm