15 Companies That Use Wood in Food

I remember hearing back in the day that the secret ingredient in McDonald’s milk shakes was…wood. What?! Many people chalked it off to urban myth, but as the ingredient listed as cellulose began popping up with increased frequency, myth seemed less likely.

As it turns out, wood cellulose is used in everything from milk shakes to salad dressing, from muffins to pancake syrup. Food manufacturers use it to thicken and stabilize foods, replace fat and boost fiber content–as well as to reduce reliance on more expensive ingredients like oil or flour.

Powdered cellulose is made by cooking virgin wood pulp in 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. Then it’s mixed into popular foods, and unwittingly devoured by the consumer.

Even organic-food products aren’t safe from the taint of cellulose. According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, Organic Valley uses powdered cellulose made from wood pulp in its shredded-cheese products. The company would prefer not to use a synthetic ingredient, but cellulose is bland, white and repels moisture, making it the favored choice over products such as potato starch, says Tripp Hughes, director of product marketing for Organic Valley. Only powdered cellulose in its least manipulated form can be used in foods labeled “organic” or “made with organic” ingredients by the USDA.

Cellulose comes in different forms, each used for a specific purpose. Beyond powdered cellulose, two other modified forms are commonly used in food. Microcrystalline cellulose is either listed as such on labels, or as MCC, or in some cases as cellulose gelCarboxymethyl cellulose or cellulose gum, another modified version, is listed as such on labels.

The website TheStreet rounded up a list of popular food companies that use cellulose in a number of their products. But so many companies are using it now in so many products, if you want to avoid it–check the label.

Dole Foods
• Peaches & Crème Parfait
• Apples & Crème Parfait

(Click through to end for printable list.)

General Mills
• Fiber One Ready-To-Eat Muffins (Wild Blueberry & Oats; Mixed Fruit, Nuts & Honey; Apple Cinnamon Bun, Banana Chocolate Chip)
• Fiber One Original cereal
• Fiber One Chewy Bars (90 Calorie Chocolate, 90 Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter)
• Fiber One baking products (Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix, Banana Nut Muffin Mix, Blueberry Muffin Mix)
• Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Cake Mix
• Pillsbury Mozzarella and Pepperoni Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Cheese and Spinach Crescent Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Artichoke and Spinach Bread Bowl Bites
• Pillsbury Buffalo Chicken Crescent Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Bread Bowl Bites
• Betty Crocker whipped frostings (Strawberry Mist, Chocolate, Cream Cheese)
• Betty Crocker Vanilla Amazing Glazes
• Duncan Hines Cake Mixes (Devil’s Food Cake Mix, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry Supreme, Fudge Marble, Classic Yellow, French Vanilla)

Kellogg’s
• MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
• MorningStar Farms Chik Patties Original
• MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings Veggie Wings
• Eggo Nutri-Grain Blueberry waffles
• Eggo Strawberry Waffles
• Eggo Blueberry Waffles
• Cinnabon Pancakes Original
• Cinnabon Pancakes Caramel
• Cinnabon Snack Bars Original
• Cinnabon Snack Bars Baked Cinnamon Apple

McDonald’s
• Fish Filet Patty
• McRib
• Premium Caesar Salad
• Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap
• Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
• Southern Style Chicken Biscuit
• Strawberry Sundae
• Natural Swiss Cheese – Used in: McRib, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Angus Mushroom & Swiss, Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich, Angus Mushroom & Swiss Snack Wrap
• Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese – Used in: Ranch Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, Premium Southwest Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, McSkillet Burrito with Sausage
• Barbeque Sauce
• Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce
• Shredded Parmesan Cheese – Used in: Premium Caesar Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken
• Biscuit – Used to make: Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, Sausage Biscuit, Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, Big Breakfast with/without Hotcakes
• Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream – Used in: Strawberry Sundae, Hot Caramel Sundae, Hot Fudge Sundae, McFlurry with M&M’S Candies, McFlurry with OREO Cookies, Chocolate Triple Thick Shake, Strawberry Triple Thick Shake, Vanilla Triple Thick Shake
• Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup — Used in: Premium Roast Coffee, Espresso

Pepsi
• Aunt Jemima Frozen Blueberry Pancakes
• Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
• Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup

Sara Lee
• Jimmy Dean Frozen Breakfast Bowl (Sausage & Gravy)
• Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl
• Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Croissant
• Jimmy Dean Breakfast Entrée: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon/Sausage and Cheese Diced Apples & Seasoned Hash

Taco Bell
• Southwest Chicken
• Caramel Apple Empanada
• Corn Tortilla
• Enchilada Rice
• Nacho Chips
• Red Strips
• Strawberry Topping
• Zesty Dressing

Kraft Foods
• Wheat Thins Fiber Selects
• Frozen Bagel-Fuls
• Macaroni & Cheese Thick ‘n Creamy
• Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Three Cheese W/mini-shell Pasta

Pizza Hut
• Parmesan Romano Cheese
• Taco Bean Sauce
• Shredded Cheddar (for Taco Pizza)
• Breadstick Seasoning – Used to make Cheese Breadsticks
• WingStreet Bone-In (in the batter)
• Meatballs (for pasta products, sandwiches)
• White Pasta Sauce – Used for: PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera
• Alfredo Sauce – Used for: PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera
• Fat Free Ranch Dressing

Nestle
• Hot Cocoa Mixes: Mini Marshmallows, Rich Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Caramel

Sonic
• Ice Cream
• Sonic Blast
• Banana Split
• Ice Cream Cone

KFC
• KFC Cornbread Muffin
• Apple Turnover
• Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
• Lil’ Bucket Strawberry Short Cake Parfait
• Lil’ Bucket Lemon Crème Parfait
• Lil’ Bucket Chocolate Crème Parfait
• Oreo Cookies and Crème Pie Slice
• Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie Slice
• Popcorn Chicken
• Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie Slice

Weight Watchers International
• Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
• English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar
• Giant Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Bar

Wendy’s Arby’s
• Asiago Cheese – Used in: Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, Caesar Side Salad
• Fat Free French Dressing – Used for: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Baja Salad, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
• Blue Cheese Crumbles – Used in: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
• Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Blend, Shredded
• Chocolate Sauce
• Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty (Chocolate, Vanilla)
• Frosty (Chocolate and Vanilla)
• Frosty Shake (Frosty-cino, Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean)
• Milk, 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk

Jack in the Box
• Cheese, Cheddar, Shredded — Used in: Grilled Chicken Salad, Chicken Club Salad with Crispy Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito, Hearty Breakfast Bowl)
• Cheese, Pepper Jack, Shredded — Used in: Chicken Fajita Pita, Southwest Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito)
• Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
• Ice Cream Shake Mix
• Log Cabin Syrup
• Mini Funnel Cake
• Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (also part of Sampler Trio)
• Smoothie Base (Mango, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana)
• Tortilla, Flour — used for Chorizo Sausage Burrito, Steak & Egg Burrito, Meaty Breakfast Burrito
• White Cheese Sauce — Used in: Breakfast Bowl (Hearty and Denver)

Also see:
Top 10 Foods That Increase Cancer Risk
6 Tricks Used to Sell Junk Food
The Rebranding of Six Popular Food Items

Next: Printable List

Printable List

Cellulose comes in different forms, each used for a specific purpose. Beyond powdered cellulose, two other modified forms are commonly used in food. Microcrystalline cellulose is either listed as such on labels, or as MCC, or in some cases as cellulose gelCarboxymethyl cellulose or cellulose gum, another modified version, is listed as such on labels.

Dole Foods
• Peaches & Crème Parfait
• Apples & Crème Parfait

General Mills
• Fiber One Ready-To-Eat Muffins (Wild Blueberry & Oats; Mixed Fruit, Nuts & Honey; Apple Cinnamon Bun, Banana Chocolate Chip)
• Fiber One Original cereal
• Fiber One Chewy Bars (90 Calorie Chocolate, 90 Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter)
• Fiber One baking products (Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix, Banana Nut Muffin Mix, Blueberry Muffin Mix)
• Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Yellow Cake Mix
• Pillsbury Mozzarella and Pepperoni Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Cheese and Spinach Crescent Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Artichoke and Spinach Bread Bowl Bites
• Pillsbury Buffalo Chicken Crescent Pastry Puffs
• Pillsbury Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Bread Bowl Bites
• Betty Crocker whipped frostings (Strawberry Mist, Chocolate, Cream Cheese)
• Betty Crocker Vanilla Amazing Glazes
• Duncan Hines Cake Mixes (Devil’s Food Cake Mix, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry Supreme, Fudge Marble, Classic Yellow, French Vanilla)

Kellogg’s
• MorningStar Farms Chik’n Nuggets
• MorningStar Farms Chik Patties Original
• MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings Veggie Wings
• Eggo Nutri-Grain Blueberry waffles
• Eggo Strawberry Waffles
• Eggo Blueberry Waffles
• Cinnabon Pancakes Original
• Cinnabon Pancakes Caramel
• Cinnabon Snack Bars Original
• Cinnabon Snack Bars Baked Cinnamon Apple

McDonald’s
• Fish Filet Patty
• McRib
• Premium Caesar Salad
• Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap
• Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
• Southern Style Chicken Biscuit
• Strawberry Sundae
• Natural Swiss Cheese – Used in: McRib, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Angus Mushroom & Swiss, Premium Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich, Angus Mushroom & Swiss Snack Wrap
• Shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese – Used in: Ranch Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Crispy and Grilled), Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, Premium Southwest Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken, McSkillet Burrito with Sausage
• Barbeque Sauce
• Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce
• Shredded Parmesan Cheese – Used in: Premium Caesar Salad with/without Crispy/Grilled Chicken
• Biscuit – Used to make: Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Sausage Biscuit with Egg, Sausage Biscuit, Southern Style Chicken Biscuit, Big Breakfast with/without Hotcakes
• Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream – Used in: Strawberry Sundae, Hot Caramel Sundae, Hot Fudge Sundae, McFlurry with M&M’S Candies, McFlurry with OREO Cookies, Chocolate Triple Thick Shake, Strawberry Triple Thick Shake, Vanilla Triple Thick Shake
• Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup — Used in: Premium Roast Coffee, Espresso

Pepsi
• Aunt Jemima Frozen Blueberry Pancakes
• Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
• Aunt Jemima Lite Syrup

Sara Lee
• Jimmy Dean Frozen Breakfast Bowl (Sausage & Gravy)
• Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl
• Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Croissant
• Jimmy Dean Breakfast Entrée: Scrambled Eggs with Bacon/Sausage and Cheese Diced Apples & Seasoned Hash

Taco Bell
• Southwest Chicken
• Caramel Apple Empanada
• Corn Tortilla
• Enchilada Rice
• Nacho Chips
• Red Strips
• Strawberry Topping
• Zesty Dressing

Kraft Foods
• Wheat Thins Fiber Selects
• Frozen Bagel-Fuls
• Macaroni & Cheese Thick ‘n Creamy
• Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Three Cheese W/mini-shell Pasta

Pizza Hut
• Parmesan Romano Cheese
• Taco Bean Sauce
• Shredded Cheddar (for Taco Pizza)
• Breadstick Seasoning – Used to make Cheese Breadsticks
• WingStreet Bone-In (in the batter)
• Meatballs (for pasta products, sandwiches)
• White Pasta Sauce – Used for: PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera
• Alfredo Sauce – Used for: PastaBakes Marinara, PastaBakes Meatball Marinara, PastaBakes Primavera, PastaBakes Chicken Primavera
• Fat Free Ranch Dressing

Nestle
• Hot Cocoa Mixes: Mini Marshmallows, Rich Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Caramel

Sonic
• Ice Cream
• Sonic Blast
• Banana Split
• Ice Cream Cone

KFC
• KFC Cornbread Muffin
• Apple Turnover
• Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
• Lil’ Bucket Strawberry Short Cake Parfait
• Lil’ Bucket Lemon Crème Parfait
• Lil’ Bucket Chocolate Crème Parfait
• Oreo Cookies and Crème Pie Slice
• Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie Slice
• Popcorn Chicken
• Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie Slice

Weight Watchers International
• Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
• English Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Bar
• Giant Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Bar

Wendy’s Arby’s
• Asiago Cheese – Used in: Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, Caesar Side Salad
• Fat Free French Dressing – Used for: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Baja Salad, Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
• Blue Cheese Crumbles – Used in: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, BLT Cobb Salad
• Cheddar Pepper Jack Cheese Blend, Shredded
• Chocolate Sauce
• Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty (Chocolate, Vanilla)
• Frosty (Chocolate and Vanilla)
• Frosty Shake (Frosty-cino, Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean)
• Milk, 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk

Jack in the Box
• Cheese, Cheddar, Shredded — Used in: Grilled Chicken Salad, Chicken Club Salad with Crispy Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito, Hearty Breakfast Bowl)
• Cheese, Pepper Jack, Shredded — Used in: Chicken Fajita Pita, Southwest Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken, Meaty Breakfast Burrito)
• Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
• Ice Cream Shake Mix
• Log Cabin Syrup
• Mini Funnel Cake
• Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (also part of Sampler Trio)
• Smoothie Base (Mango, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana)
• Tortilla, Flour — used for Chorizo Sausage Burrito, Steak & Egg Burrito, Meaty Breakfast Burrito
• White Cheese Sauce — Used in: Breakfast Bowl (Hearty and Denver)

180 comments

Glenn Nile
Glenn Nile2 years ago

I is truly mindbogglingly to me, how so many people have a problem with wood (cellulose) in their food. Icecream would not be as good without it and it's far better for you than a lot of things you all put in you bodies. It's high fiber, low carb, low fat and benign. How does your diet compare to that? The fiber helps get rid of the other things you were not supposed to eat in the first place. Eat more wood and you can get away with eating that extra donut (-: Everyone would me much healthier with more wood in their diet. Spread the word.

Siti Rohana
Siti R.5 years ago

don't buy a lot of those processed foods. i rather eat fresh!

Dianne D.
Dianne D.5 years ago

I stopped reading the list midway through. Looks to be mostly processed food and I don't buy that anymore and haven't for years. This is another reason not to shop for grocery's in the middle aisles.

Adobe Hacienda
Adobe Hacienda5 years ago

Could somebody please list the companies/corporations which rinse the 'garbage' hamburger in ammonia?

Justine Schulz
Justine Schulz5 years ago

I had no idea. Very informative, thank you

Darla G.
Darla G.5 years ago

Can anyone say EWWWWWW!!!!!!
That is just gross.... and one more reason I bake my own stuff, from scratch... and will stay way from fast or convenience foods...

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 5 years ago

Sadly goes to show anything processed must be suspected first until proven not guilty.

Jj S.
Janice S.5 years ago

Thank you. Goodbye Organic Valley.

Lillian Martin
Lillian Martin5 years ago

I learn something new all the time. Wonder if there are any harmful effects "down the road"?

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi5 years ago

thanks for very use full info