The following question came into The Food Channel:
I heard that pre-shredded cheese may be bad for you. Is that true?
The issue that has been talked about regarding pre-shredded cheese is actually about the anti-clumping agent, cellulose—which is an approved additive. Within the past year, there have been several articles written about this, with cellulose also called “wood pulp.” Naturally, this has led to a desire by some people to avoid pre-shredded cheese, although as far as we know there is no safety violation or safety issue around it. There are those, however, who believe that pre-shredded cheese doesn’t taste as good as freshly shredded. If, at the same time, you can save money, all you have to do is get out your grater! Blocks or wheels of cheese do not contain cellulose since ‘caking’ is not an issue until the cheese is grated. From a culinary perspective, hand shredded cheese also has much better melting qualities if cooking!
If you choose pre-shredded cheese for the convenience factor, rest assured that there is no food safety issue. If you choose to shred your own, you can do it with a hand grater or a food processor—and you can freeze any leftovers that won’t be used within a few days. One of the best demos we’ve seen is at http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2015/02/why-shred-your-own-cheese/. We hope this helps!
For more culinary tips, see the previous questions in our Ask the Chef series.
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