A member of the public wrote in to an online news site claiming that the use of melamine food wares may cause health problems such as kidney, bladder stones (urolithiasis), kidney failure and even cancer.
This is not true.
Melamine food wares have a history of safe use. There have been no scientific reports on adverse health effects associated with the use of melamine food wares. When properly used, the level of migration of melamine from food wares is insignificant or very low, and do not pose a health risk to the public.
The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) advises the following on the use of melamine food ware:
- Do not heat or cook food in melamine food ware
- Do not use melamine food ware in microwave oven or conventional oven
- Do not use serrated knives on melamine food ware
- Do not use melamine food ware that is damaged on its surface
- Do not use harsh abrasive cleaners, steel wool or metal scouring pads to clean melamine food ware
- Use melamine food ware according to the manufacturer’s instructions, if any
The Singapore Food Regulations stipulate the safety requirements for food-contact plastics (e.g. food ware like bowls, plates and utensils) that are imported and sold in Singapore. Manufacturers of food-contact plastics are required to conduct tests on their products to ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation and restrictions for the intended condition of use.
Further, under the Environmental Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations, food operators and their food handlers are required to ensure that their crockery, utensils or appliances are not chipped, broken, cracked or damaged at all times.
The AVA conducts regular post-market surveillance involving the sampling and testing of food ware (including melamine food wares), to ensure that they do not release any harmful substances when exposed to food or under intended use conditions. Food wares that fail the tests would not be allowed for sale.
This article is accurate as of Apr 2016.