Apparently the “100 percent parmesan” claim on grated cheese in US stores is not true — the popular pasta topper also includes processed wood.
That is what Marc Moschetta has claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against US retail titan Wal-Mart Stores, and Samantha Lewin alleged in her San Francisco suit against food giant Kraft last week.
Both suits say the labels on the Italian cheese sold by the two companies, claiming the contents are “100 percent grated parmesan”, are untrue and deceptive.
“Independent testing shows that at least seven percent to 10 percent of the product is not parmesan cheese,” Moschetta said in his suit, filed in a US federal court in New York.
“In fact, at least seven percent to 10 percent of the product is cellulose, an anti-clumping agent derived from wood chips.”
Moschetta, alleging that consumers are deceived by the 100 percent claim, said he would not have bought the cheese “at a premium price, and/or would have paid significantly less for the product, had he known that the ‘100 percent’ representation is false.”
The lawsuit depicts an eight-ounce (227 gram) jar of Walmart “100 percent grated parmesan”, which the retail chain sells for $2.98.
Lewin made a similar claim against Kraft, saying testing showed 3.8 percent cellulose in its $3.99 jar of “100 percent parmesan.”
Both lawsuits seek class-action status to represent damages to all consumers allegedly deceived by the makers’ claims. According to the San Francisco filing, the minimum aggregate claim in a class-action suit would be $5 million.
In a statement Wal-Mart said it takes the cheese issue “seriously”.
“We know earning customer trust starts with high standards for the products we carry,” a spokesman said.
“We will review the allegations once we have received the complaint and will respond appropriately with the court.”