Melamine dinnerware became popular among Foodservice operators. You might have used a melamine plate, but do not know what it really is. Melamine dinnerware is lightweight and more durable than the Chinaware.
A lot of eateries and fast-food chains have been using melamine. It saves the costs of replacing broken dinnerware. Another advantage of using melamine tableware is that it makes their service easy. It is convenient for the staff to carry large trays stacked with plates of food. Since it is lightweight, it is easy to pile up without the worry of slipping off.
You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Microwave Oven that Best Fits Your Needs
It is available in a wide array of colors, themes, and styles that you can choose from. You can find cups and plates made of melamine. You’ll also find melamine saucers, bowls, ramekins, display trays, and even chopsticks. Melamine is an extremely versatile product. You can use it on different occasions and even on ordinary days.
Melamine is present in many products. But some reports are questioning the health hazards of melamine material. Read on to find out if it is safe to use melamine, how to use it, and how to care for these products.
Is Melamine Safe to Use?
According to the FDA, it is safe to use this kind of plastic for dining. The study concludes that the chemicals in melamine will not transfer into food. Also, melamine kitchen tools and dinnerware meet the approval for food safety by the NSF. If BPA is your concern, many products contain the right amount of BPA. Other brands also offer BPA-free melamine dishware. Thus, giving you peace of mind whether to use melamine or not.
Is Melamine Microwave Safe?
Melamine can withstand high temperatures up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But not ideal to heat up food in melamine. So, we do not recommend putting this product in a microwave. Another exception is serving high acidic foods in melamine dishware especially when heated. Melamine poisoning is rare, but improper use leads to kidney failure or even death.
Is Melamine Expensive?
The price varies depending on the type of product you desire as well as the brand. Many different melamine products available in the market are affordable. It is also a wise long-term investment. Unlike ceramics or glass, melamine plates or bowls are unbreakable once dropped. You can save a lot with these products. But make sure to use them well.
What does Microwave Safety Mean?
The safety concern of using melamine products in a microwave varies among people. For some, it means zero chance of a plate exploding. Others believe that it means chemicals won’t transfer into food if put in a microwave.
It’s a good thing that melamine tableware does not release chemicals. Not inside a microwave or outside of it. Even so, we do not recommend putting melamine in a microwave with food in it. It is not a healthy practice in a commercial Foodservice environment.
Remember that melamine is a chemical compound. Heating up food in a melamine bowl would result in food contamination. It is because there is a possibility of contamination by the melamine chemical.
Is Melamine Dishwasher Safe?
Yes, melamine is 100 percent dishwasher safe. Thanks to its high heat-retaining properties. It can handle the heat that exceeds dishwasher water temperatures. It also dries faster than regular dishware.
Is Melamine Breakable?
Unlike porcelain products, it is durable and strong. Breaking this kind of material is not easy. It will not shatter if dropped. It can save your business a lot of money in the long term because melamine has a much lower replacement rate.
But it is possible to have to chip around the edges of melamine dishware if not used properly. So be sure to always check your melamine dinnerware constantly. Some melamine products are also scratch-resistant.
Can You Recycle Melamine?
Most earth-conscious customers ask where melamine falls on the list of recyclable plastics. On the Plastic Resin Codes list, melamine is listed under class #7. This suggests that it should not be dumped in your recycle bin.
Like other plastics, it cannot be melted for recycling. Yet, it can be used as a filler for other plastics or wood composites. There are great advice and tips from your local recycling center on how to dispose of these products. You can ask them about this.
Who Microwaves Melamine?
Even it is not recommended to microwave food and drinks in melamine dinnerware, many people still do this. Especially in residential use. You’ve probably microwaved melamine at home, too. Different from commercial Foodservice, microwaves at home release a low amount of heat. Yet the choice is yours.
What Will Happen If You Microwave Melamine?
It dries up
If you exposed melamine to high temperatures for a long period, it will eventually dry out. Once it dries out, there’s a great possibility to break easily. It will eventually turn brown, become brittle and crack too soon.
Shortened service life
When it’s properly cared for, it will last for several years. But microwaving it so often will take it out of its service. You will want a dinnerware that not only in great designs but functional with long service life. But take note that frequent exposure of melamine to high degrees heat can cause premature damage like chipping. And that can be another unnecessary expense.
Unattractive melamine dinnerware
Your guest will suffer if served with unappealing dinnerware. This may also affect your service or business. Discolored and damaged tableware requires replacement. It is because no one would enjoy their meal with unappealing plates.
What Will Happen if People Drink or Eat Food Contaminated With Melamine?
FDA assessed to identify the risk posed by melamine and its analogs in foods. Products with melamine contamination above normal levels are dangerous to health. It is according to the FDA’s risk assessment.
If a person consumes a high level of melamine chemical, there’s a great chance of poisoning. Worse, it can impact kidney stones, kidney failure, and even death. Melamine poisoning show signs like irritability, blood in urine, or high blood pressure. If you experience these signs, it means you need to seek the help of a medical professional.
How to Use Melamine Properly
Safety standards vary by country. What is microwavable in one place may be different in another. Look for symbols on each product stating it is FDA safe or labels saying it is microwave safe. FDA approved that melamine does not pose a health risk. But they do recommend care when using it. Follow the tips below to ensure that you are using melamine most safely.
Don’t use melamine products for children
Melamine products are the types of plastic not recommended for infants and young children use. The chances that children get poisoned is high. Don’t use these dishes to feed infants.
Avoid heating food and drinks on melamine products
Even plastic has a microwave-safe label, it is a must to be a wise user. The more the product has been used over the period, the more likely it is to leak harmful chemicals into your food. It is much better to discard it or stop microwaving it. Remember that these products are safe to serve food and drinks at room temperature only.
Avoid serving highly acidic foods
Orange juice or tomato-based products have higher acid content. FDA found out that they tend to have a higher level of melamine migration than nonacidic foods or drinks.
Do’s and Don’ts in Caring for Your Melamine Products
Caring for your melamine tableware is essential. It can extend its life and preserve its stylish looks. Below are a few steps to keep your melamine dinnerware looking vibrant for a long time:
- Use soft cloth or sponges when cleaning melamine dishes by hand.
- Use the dishwasher if you want. Its dishwasher safe and will enable you to conveniently clean your melamine dishware.
- Use high-quality detergent products.
- Store your melamine product in a clean, dry, and safe place.
- Inspect your dishes regularly. Replace your cracked, melted, or broken plates or bowls.
- Pre-soak your tableware if there are particular stubborn stains or stuck-on food?
- Don’t use steel wool or any abrasive tool when cleaning. This can scratch or cut your melamine dishware.
- Do not put melamine inside an oven or a microwave. It cannot tolerate high temperatures.
- Don’t use sharp utensils like knives. They can nick the surface of the plate.
- Do not use chlorine bleach when cleaning your melamine dishware.
Melamine is a wise choice for different occasions. Dining halls or businesses that serve a high volume of customers prefer using this. This type of material is durable and suitable for serving hot and cold foods.
You will love using this versatile material in your kitchen. It is also FDA safe. But the usage of melamine dishware has limitations. It is not recommended to microwave or heat this kind of plastic. It is also not suggested to feed infants and young children. It is beneficial for serving, not for microwaving food.
- “Is Melamine Dinnerware Microwave-Safe?”, Get-Melamine.com, June 2, 2017
- “Melamine in Tableware Questions and Answers”, FDA.gov, December 12, 2017
- “Is Melamine Dinnerware Microwave Safe?”, HomeQuicks.com, 2011
- “What is Melamine and Is It Safe to use in Dishware?”, HealthLine.com, February 19, 2020
- “Everything you need to know about Melamine Dinnerware”, WebRestaurantStore.com, July 10, 2018