Following FDA’s 2012 finding that Pennsylvania cheese factory Castle Cheese Inc was doctoring its “100% real parmesan” with filler ingredients like wood pulp, or cheaper cheeses, Bloomberg made its own investigation and found high percentages of cellulose – essentially powdered wood pulp and the main ingredient in paper – in four different brands.
According to the Guardian, Bloomberg found that “Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8% cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8%, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3%. Kraft had 3.8%.”
The discovery of wood pulp in cheese is the latest in many food safety scandals and consumer fraud cases that call into question what we eat.
Instances of mislabeling and deceptive marketing of cosmetic products are rising exponentially. Being in the business of natural skin care products (Herbally Radiant), with certified organic ingredients, we have been highlighting the potential harm to the skin that most of the aggressively marketed products can cause. In one recently reported case, Avalon Organics and Jason Brand Cosmetics agreed to settle a class action law suit filed by Lexington Law Group in a California court, which alleged that the two cosmetic companies were misleading the customers with unethical advertising and deceptive packaging labels on the products. The cosmetics sold by them during the period May 2007-May 2011 had misled the consumers to think that the products bought by them were mostly, or wholly organic.
The cosmetic companies agreed to a settlement, running into nearly $ 9.35 million dollars, to avoid further legal costs and damages. In the absence of lax regulatory mechanism, most of the cosmetic companies are indulging either in unethical advertisement campaigns, using misleading words, or making unverifiable claims.
Instead of getting influenced by the aggressive marketing campaigns, consumers need to read the ingredients on the labels carefully to avoid falling into the trap of unverifiable claims, especially if they appear too good to be true.