Is Melamine Safe to Use? Advantages and Disadvantages of Melamine: Melamine belongs to the category of formaldehyde, which is a mortal danger if manufacturing technologies are not followed.
What Is Melamine?
The material is used not only in the industry to manufacture plastics, synthetic varnishes, resins, and finishing materials but also to produce souvenirs.
Tableware, vases, ashtrays, cups, and trays are durable melamine plastic. Often the manufacturer declines responsibility and indicates on the packaging that eating hot food from dishes is forbidden.
Melamine Tableware or Dinnerware: How to Choose the Best one?
Recognizing this category of objects is quite simple:
- It is produced from white, opaque plastic with a bright pattern, easily erased by any sharp object.
- You can hear a dull sound with light blows with a wooden stick.
- Each item is lightweight.
- Melamine tableware has earned popular love for its durability, despite warnings about health hazards.
- The reverse side of each product must be stamped “Melamine.”
Is Melamine Harmful to health? Is Melamine Safe to Use?
If the dishes are from a dubious manufacturer and do not have a quality certificate, then you need to consider the lack of benefit to human health.
The violation of the technological process negatively affects the release of toxins when melamine is heated.
As a result, formaldehyde resins emitted throughout the entire period of use of such dishes do not dissolve in water and enter the body along with food intake.
And also, paints for painting that is not covered with protective enamel cause great harm.
Scientists have conducted many experiments proving the danger of melamine when heated or in contact with food acids.
For example, table vinegar, poured into a melamine glass and left for a day, exceeded the norm of formaldehyde by several tens of times.
When using dishes of dubious quality, this mutagenic poison tends to accumulate in the body and cause various diseases.
Types of Melamine Tableware
Melamine products are divided into types and are intended for:
- For Eating– Food use plates for first and second courses and desserts and snacks.
- For Drinks – We use melamine mugs and cups. The volume is from 140 – 325 ml. Melamine tea service is not uncommon. It can be purchased separately or in a set with dinnerware.
- For Storage – Food containers are often used, which have a tight lid and are convenient for compact storage.
- For Servings – There is a wide selection of salad bowls, dishes, and trays of various shapes from oval to rectangular, which, with their design, will harmoniously fit the style of many dinner sets.
- For Children – The children’s line is diverse in design. You can purchase individual items of dishes, as well as whole sets, including a cup, dinner, and dessert plates.
- For Cutlery – Cutlery and kitchen utensils in the form of spoons, forks, tongs, and spatulas are not recommended for eating hot food.
- Others – Design a line of melamine tableware in the form of sushi sets, as well as for children’s parties, daily use, and theme parties.
How Long Can Melamine Tableware Be Used?
The manufacturer indicates the service life on the packaging of any plastic or plastic utensils. The presence of small scratches, as well as a faded or erased pattern on the walls of melamine, indicates sufficient wear and tear and termination of use.
To extend the service life, it is enough to follow a few rules:
- Do not wash melamine in the dishwasher.
- Avoid abrasive products.
- Do not cut on the walls with sharp objects.
- Use a plastic brush to remove food debris.
- Do not reheat in a microwave or oven.
How Long Does Melamine Last?
Melamines are decorative films impregnated with phenolic resins that cover both sides of a board, thus giving it a perfectly closed surface, free of pores, waterproof, hard, and resistant to all types of surface wear. Therefore, melamine does not break down, is not diluted with solvents, and withstands up to 700 abrasion cycles.
Can Melamine Tableware or Dinnerware Be Dangerous?
The quick answer is no. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the correct use of melamine tableware is not dangerous to health.
In fact, in that country, melamine elements are approved for dinnerware, laminates, and some plastics. The authorities established that the tolerable daily dose is 0.063 milliliters per kilogram of body weight.
What is the Advantage of Melamine Tableware or Dinnerware?
Actually, the advantages of melamine tableware are many, both at home and in restaurants:
- It is cheaper than traditional porcelain, glass, or ceramic tableware. It lasts much longer without being damaged or deteriorating. If it falls to the ground, it will not break.
- It is much lighter; a very welcome quality for waiters and waitresses in catering services.
- It is safer when washed by hand because, since it does not break, it will not cause injuries.
- The designs are attractive and varied.
- They are products that resist temperatures ranging from -30 ºC to 70 ºC.
- They take up less storage space than conventional crockery.
What are Some Disadvantages and Possible Drawbacks?
The fear of consuming food served in melamine crockery is due to the fact that there could be some type of damage if the remains of the material are mixed with the food.
- The FDA warns against the use of this tableware in the microwave. This is because the high temperatures could lead to spillage of the food. In such a case, there would be contamination and possible intoxication.
- In this sense, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that melamine could leach into food. The participants of this investigation ate soup served on plates of the material, and, when analyzing their urine for 12 hours, they detected traces.
- If melamine levels are high, kidney problems such as kidney failure and kidney stones can be generated. Symptoms of melamine poisoning include blood in the urine, high blood pressure, and irritability.
12 Reasons to Choose Melamine Tableware
Melamine tableware in a restaurant, cafe, diner, supermarket, or water park is an alternative to the usual glass, porcelain, or ceramics. So, today we will discuss the 12 reasons why you should pay attention to melamine dinnerware.
Reason 1: Melamine Cymbals Don’t Break
Melamine tableware is considered unbreakable. The vast majority of times, when such a plate falls, it does not break. The maximum that happens to it over time is the appearance of chips. Glass, porcelain, or ceramic dishes break a lot and often.
Reason 2: Low Replacement Rate
The surface of the melamine dinnerware is scratch-resistant with a fork and knife. Even though it is plastic, it looks presentable for several years.
In this regard and the fact that melamine dishes do not break, they need to be changed much less often than ceramics or porcelain. The replacement rate of melamine dishes is 3-5% per year (in case of negligent use or use for other purposes). For elite porcelain tableware, it reaches 10-20%; for ceramic, it only starts from 100-150% per year.
Reason 3: Melamine Tableware or Dinnerware is Safe for Human Health
Melamine is a colorless and odorless powder. Used to make:
- Wall and floor coverings (laminate);
- Adhesives and paints and varnishes;
The dishes are made from melamine-formaldehyde resin (class A5).
Studies confirm the low toxicity of melamine by experts from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The amount and inactivity of formaldehyde in dishes
The formaldehyde content in melamine plates and dishes is no more than in polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE). Polyethylene and melamiformaldehyde resin have a 2nd hazard class; the maximum permissible concentration of formaldehyde, taking into account its summation, is 0.003 mg/m3; admissible amounts of migration (DKM) of formaldehyde – 0.100 mg/l.
In addition, formaldehyde is present in:
- Canned food (additive E240);
- Toothpaste, shampoos and soaps;
- and many other tools that we actively use in everyday life.
Recommendations for using melamine tableware
Assessing melamine tableware’s danger means evaluating the likelihood of the transfer of harmful compounds to products.
After a series of studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that such dishes are safe. Under certain conditions (temperature above 70°C, acid, hot oil), the migration of harmful substances may increase. Still, even considering this, the amount of melamine and formaldehyde released will be 250 times less than the maximum allowable.
General FDA guidelines for using melamine tableware:
- Do not heat food in it in the microwave or oven;
- Do not wash with water above 70°C.
Reason 4. Dishwasher safe
The dishwasher significantly increases the speed of work processes in the establishment. You can wash melamine dishes in the dishwasher, just like ceramics or porcelain. The main thing is to observe the temperature regime, not higher than 70° C.
The smooth surface of melamine plates can be easily washed, even by hand.
Reason 5. Not prone to stubborn stains
The smooth surface of melamine plates can be easily washed, even by hand. It is recommended not to use abrasive products or metal sponges, which can damage the dishes.
Reason 6: Melamine cookware dries faster
Melamine plates dry quickly in natural conditions. It is an additional time-saver.
Reason 7. Plates and containers are easy to stack
Melamine tableware has a comfortable surface shape. It makes it easy to stack. It saves space and speeds up workflows.
Reason 8. Melamine dinnerware is 3 times lighter than porcelain
For employees of establishments with high traffic, this is a significant advantage. When your employees need to carry stacks of dishes, it’s better to let them be light.
Reason 9. Suitable for hot and cold dishes
Plus melamine tableware – heat resistance. The plates themselves do not heat up when serving hot dishes, while the food does not cool down longer.
Melamine plates for organizing receptions in the summer are simply irreplaceable. For cold dishes, this property is essential in hot weather. Therefore, melamine plates for organizing receptions in the summer are indispensable. In them, the products stay chilled longer.
Reason 10. A good solution for water parks and pool bars
Do not use breakable dishes near swimming pools and water parks. If you choose between cardboard or plastic dishes, melamine dishes or budget plastic options, then the most aesthetic will be melamine dishes. The rest of the options look too budget and unpretentious.
Reason 11. Imitation porcelain
Of course, aesthetics and attractive design are differences between melamine tableware. High-quality imitations of porcelain and ceramics are created from it, and various shapes and shades are reproduced.
Reason 12. A wide range of melamine tableware
You can choose melamine tableware or dinnerware for any needs and purposes:
- Plates of different shapes and sizes;
- Salad bowls;
- Dishes for display in supermarkets;
- Frying pans for serving dishes;
- Containers for spices;
- Attractive to visitors;
- Economical for owners due to the extremely long period of use;
- Convenient for bartenders, waiters and kitchen workers.
Hello! I’m Paula Deen, a mother who loves to create memories in the kitchen. As a kitchen enthusiast, I love to do experiment with different kitchenware for daily recipes. This is my blog, where I’ll share my experience, knowledge, and reviews on various kitchenware and appliances.