Anyone who bought grated cheese advertised as being 100% Parmesan.
Market Pantry 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese, Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese and Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese. These products were sold at Target, Wal-Mart, Jewel-Osco and other major grocery chains.
Why Was This Alert Posted?
Reports surfaced that certain Parmesan brands contain more fillers – including wood pulp – than actual parmesan cheese.
Where Did These Reports Come From?
Both an FDA investigation and independent testing run by Bloomberg News found that many well-known brands do not contain the 100% parmesan cheese as advertised.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
You do not still need to have the cheese in your possession to have a claim. If the cheese is still in your home, however, do not eat it and do not throw it out.
Thank you to everyone who contacted us regarding this investigation. We've received hundreds of inquiries from people who bought the 100% Grated Parmesan cheese products listed on this page. Unfortunately, the lawyers working with ClassAction.org have spoken with consumers and are no longer pursuing this as a potential class action. Their main concerns stem from the fact that manufacturers list the filler, cellulose, on their products' ingredient lists, and that the products' labeling could be argued to be "ambiguous."
That being said, there are other attorneys who are still moving forward – in fact, Kraft and Walmart were sued just days after this news broke. Furthermore, the FDA is still looking into how food manufacturers label their products, and hopefully the agency – or other plaintiffs' law firms – will be able to achieve justice for those who bought the Parmesan cheese.
Although we don't need to hear from any more consumers who bought the cheese products, anyone who believes they have a case is strongly encouraged to reach out to an attorney in their area for more information on their potential legal rights and options. Keep in mind there are time limits for filing lawsuits, so it's important to act quickly.
You can view our current list of lawsuits and investigations here.
The affected products allegedly include the following cheese products bought from Target, Walmart, Jewel-Osco or any other grocery retailer:
Market Pantry 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese
Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
Reports have surfaced that these cheese products were filled with illegal additives, including wood pulp and less expensive cheeses like cheddar.
FDA Investigates Popular Manufacturer Over Cheese Fraud
The FDA is conducting a criminal investigation into Castle Cheese, Inc., the company that manufactures cheese for the three brands listed above. According to the agency’s report, no parmesan cheese was used to manufacture these products – which were instead filled with wood pulp fillers (cellulose) and trimmings of other cheeses, such as cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella. Bloomberg News also hired an independent lab to test a number of other 100% grated Parmesan cheeses – and found higher-than-average amounts of cellulose.
Cellulose, a plant fiber extracted from wood pulp and commonly used as a food additive, is reported to be “safe” and “acceptable” at levels of two to four percent. The independent tests run by Bloomberg, however, showed much higher levels. For instance, Walmart’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheeses registered a cellulose level of 7.8%.
How a Class Action Lawsuit Can Help
One seller of hard Italian cheeses quoted by Bloomberg News estimates that 20% of U.S. product are mislabeled – which equals a $375 million revenue for cheese manufacturers. If the attorneys working with our site can talk to enough people who bought these products sold by Target, Wal-Mart and Jewel-Osco, they may be able to help consumers get their money back and ensure cheese manufacturers are using real cheese – and not fillers and additives – in products they advertised as 100% grated Parmesan. A class action lawsuit could allege that the companies falsely advertised their products and defrauded consumers as a result.