“Some brands promising 100 percent purity contained no Parmesan at all.”
"Acting on a tip, agents of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.
They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains."
I am in the middle of an incredibly upsetting book, “Eat Your Heart Out: Who Really Decided What Ends Up on Your Plate” by Felicity Lawrence. It is beyond disturbing. Apparently, most processed human food is worse than I imagined. The scarier parts are about “raw” materials like fish, milk, and such.
L-cysteine, found in bread, crackers, etc, is sourced from the feathers of chickens and hair from slaughtered animals. While the chemical has been rendered into something pretty far removed from the source, it may bother super-vegetarians.
At least l-cysteine appears on the ingredient list of foods. Why is this not on the ingredient list? Because it is straight-up illegal?
Who buys parmesan out of a cardboard tube anymore? Fresh grated for each use. We make every meal we eat from fresh ingredients save for canned refried beans and some tomato products. The diet of the average American is lethal at best. All due to people being too lazy to cook. It’s sad.
I have read a few books that are very interesting, not to mention relevant to the OP. Ersatz food and synthetic foods are not just the product of unregulated British capitalism (“Swindled”) or food shortages in WWII (“The Taste of War”). Modern diets are so processed and denatured that nutrients have to be added back - a measure considered value-added.
“Swindled: Dark History of Food Fraud, from Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee” by Bee Wilson
“The Taste of War” by Lizzie Collingham
“The End of Illness” by Dr David B Agus
I strongly recommend you check these out.
The phenomenon of the starving obese in modern America is one sign that cheap foods are scary as hell.
The problem with modern American food is not endemic to lower income levels of society. All strata are vulnerable to adulteration and substitution, even in foods you would never suspect of it.