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Parmigiano Reggiano Contaminated; Velveeta Recalled

Last week, Italian police seized 2,400 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano that was contaminated with aflatoxin, a highly carcinogenic toxin that can be found in corn used to feed animals. Parmigiano Reggiano is strictly regulated by a consorzio, or consortium, which states that the cheese must be produced with the milk of cows that feast on fresh grass within the PDO zone. 

Italy takes their cheese seriously, so it’s no surprise that four people were detained because of the contamination. 

According to ABC news, “Italy’s health ministry said in a statement Thursday the seizure showed that inspections were working to identify problems and the investigation showed “the number of cases is limited.” We’re happy to hear that not only is this situation being taken very seriously, but that it’s an anomaly, and we can continue to enjoy Italy’s king of cheese. (P.S. Want to learn more about Parmigiano Reggiano, and the role it plays in Italy’s culture? Check out our blog series on Italian cheese.)

On the home front, 260 cases of Velveeta cheese product were also recalled last week, in 12 states across the U.S.

USA Today reports, 

The consumer package code for the recalled batch is 021000611614. The packages also have a date stamp that reads “17 DEC 2014,” and the time frame is between 10:54 and 14:35.

The cheese is being voluntarily recalled because it did not contain “appropriate levels of sorbic acid” needed for preserving the product, according to a Kraft statement.

No matter your cheese (or cheese product) purchases, please remember to always play it safe & stay aware! 

Erica Mixon

Erica Mixon is an editorial intern at Culture. Mixon is also the arts editor of Emerson College's student-run newspaper, the Berkeley Beacon, and editor in chief of an upcoming human resources blog, HRTalentManagement. While Erica is not editing or writing, she enjoys spending time in her hometown of Ogunquit, Maine.