You may be wondering whether melamine is safe to use in microwaves and whether melamine-laced cutlery poses a potential health risk by immerging the chemical into food. Especially since we already know that microwaving food in plastic containers (even microwave-safe plastic) is a health no-no.
The FDA noted that the risk of melamine seeping into food from cutlery is low and that it can be used as long as it does not heat food, especially acidic food. Therefore, never use melamine dishes in microwave oven! This is also a big caveat considering the necessity and convenience of reheating leftovers and how much food is acidic!
A January 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that if you use melamine cutlery with hot food, melamine can leach from the cutlery into the food, and then into your body. The study looked at 12 people. Although the sample size was small, six people ate hot soup from melamine bowls for breakfast and the other six ate hot soup from ceramic bowls. The study found that individuals excreted higher levels of melamine in their urine after using melamine bowls compared to ceramic bowls.
“While the clinical significance of urinary melamine concentration levels has not been determined, the consequences of long-term exposure to melamine should still be of concern,” wrote Dr. Chia-fang Wu, author of the study and an investigator of the study. Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan.
As the study’s authors point out, the study didn’t look at any potential health risks associated with using melamine cutlery — just that the chemical can leach into food from cutlery. At high concentrations, melamine contamination can put people at risk of kidney stones, kidney failure and even death.
What to buy instead of melamine
Maybe you’re taking stock of the hodgepodge of cutlery that has accumulated over time and realize it’s time to switch to quality cutlery that is safe, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’ve recently moved into a new home, just refurbished your kitchen, or just want to be health-conscious, we recommend Made In China. It is made in the UK from completely vitrified quality clay, making it very durable and completely non-porous (water and bacteria). Fully glazed, these plates are fork – and knife-proof, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, refrigerator-safe, and won’t leach toxic chemicals (like melamine) even when reheating tomato soup in the microwave.