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Why You Should Shred Your Own Cheese

We've been doing some 'experimenting' at the Cottage after my husband seemed to develop a sensitivity to cheese.  He noticed it a few months ago after eating certain dinners that contained cheese.  About a half hour after eating, his skin became itchy and he had hives.  At first, we thought he was developing an allergy to dairy, but as we started tracking what he ate we noticed that he didn't react to cheese slices or cheese cut from a block.  

At this point, I started reading labels and discovered some interesting ingredients like powdered cellulose and natamycin

Powdered cellulose:  minuscule pieces of wood pulp that coat the cheese to keep it from clumping by blocking out moisture.
My husband found this additional information about cellulose:
Cellulose comes in various forms, each with a specific use. Beyond powdered cellulose, two other modified forms are common in food. Microcrystalline cellulose is either listed as such on labels, as MCC, or in some cases as cellulose gel. Carboxymethyl cellulose or cellulose gum, another modified version, is listed as such on labels. Each gives foods a slightly different texture — from gelatinous to more liquid-like — because they trap varying amounts of air or water. Powdered cellulose is made by cooking raw plant fiber — usually wood — in various chemicals to separate the cellulose, and then purified. Modified versions go through extra processing, such as exposing them to acid to further break down the fiber. (source) In other words, this is not the cellulose you’d get from eating broccoli. No, this is cellulose that’s created in a laboratory, by a convoluted process you’d find difficult (if not impossible) to replicate in your own kitchen. And did I mention it’s made from wood pulp?
Natamycin:  used as a mold-inhibitor in cheese. I've see it referred to as an antifungal and an antibiotic. 

Look at the labels:
This is from shredded cheese:

This is from a jar of parmesan:

Now go to the kitchen and check your labels....I'll wait right here for you.

You found the same thing, right?  I don't know about you, but powdered cellulose and natamycin do not sound like ingredients I want to be putting in my body even if the 'experts' say they are safe for human consumption, to say nothing of the fact that my husband was having an obvious reaction to them.  
I started making the same recipes with cheese that I shredded myself (from a block of cheese) and my husband had no reaction. Hmmmmm...

Take a look at the ingredients in a block of cheese:
How about that? No powdered cellulose or natamycin in this one!

I'm no doctor, but, I think we found the culprit.  My husband is happily eating his favorite meals again without feeling horrible afterward and I'm pretty sure we are both eating healthier!
By all means, make your own decision about the cheese you use in your recipes, but, for this family, pre-processed shredded cheese will not be used anymore.
How about you?  Have you had any problems with shredded cheese?  I hope you'll share with a comment below.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by. I'll be back next week with a new project!


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Comments

  1. Oh boy... I don't like that at all even though I'm not allergic or sensitive to it. I used to grate my own cheese only because it was cheaper but I'll be starting again now. Thank you for sharing!

    Tania

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a real eye-opener, Tania!
      Thanks for visiting the Cottage - come back again soon, won't you?

      Delete
  2. Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The wood product is why we stopped buying the "shaky" cheese. Now we are using the shredded cheese that comes in packets. It doesn't contain the wood product, but it does contain the natamycin. I didn't realize that until you mentioned it. Since we are not sensitive to it, we will probably continue to use the cheese out of the packets because it's easy. Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We always used the packaged cheese for the same reason - it was easy. I guess you just never know what you will have a reaction to!
      Thanks for visiting the Cottage!

      Delete
  4. I just checked my shredded cheese bag. It has the natamycin and then it has "modified cornstarch to prevent caking." Sounds suspicious. Time to ditch the pre-shredded cheese and dust off the grater. Thanks for posting.

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    Replies
    1. Modified cornstarch, huh? Modified with what??? Happy to share, Audra - so glad you stopped by. Come back again soon!

      Delete
  5. Oh my gosh! I had no idea... however we've been shredding our own cheese for a few years now, just out of shear taste. It's sooooo much better when you do it yourself... probably because of all that unnecessary stuff! Great post.

    - Kristy

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kristy. Yes, I agree, it does taste better. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you'll visit again soon!

      Delete
  6. I have been hearing about them adding things to pre-shredded cheeses that aren't food and have been thinking of shredding our own-- I will for sure now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear it...when you look closely at the additives in food, it's no wonder there are so many allergies these days!
      Thanks for visiting the Cottage and please come back again.

      Delete
  7. This is such a great post! Thank you for joining the Merry Monday party! This is great information. laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by to read it, Laura. It's a little crazy when you take a closer look at what's in our food!

      Delete
  8. It's funny because although I've occasionally brought ready grated cheese when it's been on offer I did think there was some sort of weird coating on it that stopped it sticking which did put me off. Did you know that most kinds of raisins are also coated in oil to make them shiny and not stick together - just seems like unnecessary fat to me, so I always buy sunmaid as they don't have it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not know that about raisins! I guess we all need to read labels more carefully. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  9. This is very important information for all of us. There's so much "stuff" in our food that isn't wholesome. Thank you for sharing on Party in Your PJ's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm happy to share! More and more I'm learning about additives in our food and some of it is pretty scary.
      Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  10. I quit buying already shredded cheese a couple of years ago, when I started eating low carb. Those added ingredients also add carbs. I did not know about the allergies though.
    :) gwingal

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    Replies
    1. It was a surprise to us too, Nikki. Live and learn, I guess!
      Thanks for visiting the Cottage - come back again soon, won't you?

      Delete
  11. Wow! My shredded cheese had the natamycin in it. I will be checking labels on cheese from now on. Thanks for sharing this!

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    Replies
    1. Crazy , isn't it? Glad you stopped by, AnnMarie.
      Come back again soon!

      Delete
  12. It's an extra step to shred your own cheese but the advantage is you don't have to shred more than you need (or you can freeze it). We usually have a block of cheese in the fridge anyway, why by another ingredient? Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

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    Replies
    1. So true, Lydia, and that extra step doesn't take that long at all.
      I'm so glad you stopped by!

      Delete
  13. Thanks for sharing this information on Sunday's Best. I used to grate my own cheese, but started buying the shredded bags for convenience. I still have my grater, blocks of cheese are looking good again.

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Rhonda. No more bags of shredded cheese in this house anymore!

      Delete
  14. Ann I always buy my own cheese and shred it. You know I've heard that the shredded cheese is the one they want to get rid of because it is at the end of its life.

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    Replies
    1. I did not know that, Mary, but it certainly makes sense! Add that to the chemicals and I say, "Yuk"!!
      Thanks for the information!

      Delete

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