we’re all eating wood pulp

This piece in Bloomberg by Ken Parks about a wood pulp mill in Paraguay caught my attention. In trying to learn about “tons of cellulose” as a product and measurement I learned that they really mean like plant meal, which we then eat.

A 2014 NPR piece by Allison Aubrey sums it up with the headline: From McDonald’s to Organic Valley, You’re Probably Eating Wood Pulp

but don’t worry, the people putting wood pulp in our food say that it’s fine:

“A good way to think about it is to ask: Would our food be any better or worse if the cellulose used was sourced from another plant?” And Coupland says the answer is no. “Cellulose is just a molecule, and probably one we want more of in our diets.”

“Ah, yes, the ‘wood pulp in cheese’ stories,” Elizabeth Horton of Organic Valley responded to us when we asked her about the headlines.

Paraguay has had a rough go, something like half the country or more died in some meaningless war in the 1860s. The photos of it can look eerily like photos of our Civil War, happening at the same time.

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