Do not be alarmed, but you may be eating wood pulp. Or at least an additive that started out as wood.
If you buy shredded cheeses, including brands such as Organic Valley and Sargento, or hit the drive-through at McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie, or douse some ribs with bottled barbecue sauce, there’s likely some cellulose that’s been added to your food.
Cellulose is basically plant fiber, and one of the most common sources is wood pulp. Manufacturers grind up the wood and extract the cellulose.
It’s odd to imagine the same kind of pulp that’s used to make paper turning up in our food. So, it’s no surprise there’s buzz over a spate of recent posts, from Quartz to the Los Angeles Times, on the food industry’s widespread use of cellulose to help add texture and fiber to foods.
But there’s not much new here. The FDA long ago green-lighted the use of added cellulose in foodstuffs. And, in our bodies this cellulose passes right through our GI tracts, virtually unabsorbed.