When it was first introduced in the 1950s and 60s, melamine dinnerware was extremely popular. While its popularity declined for years, it is now the most common choice for restaurants, hotels, and bars.

Melamine is technically a crystalline chemical, but this chemical is then combined with other materials and resin to produce the melamine we know and love. It is used to manufacture plates, bowls, cups, utensils, and more. It is best known for its durability, longevity, and even beauty.

There is also a controversy that surrounds its safety. Here are the facts:

  • Melamine is FDA-approved for use as tableware
  • Toxic qualities are most often eliminated at the manufacturing facility
  • The amount of melamine that seeps into food is minimal, 250x less than FDA approved rates

There are also steps that lessen the risk of melamine poisoning. They are:

  1. Follow manufacturer guidelines as outlined in the user manual
  2. Avoid serving highly acidic foods, especially acidic foods served hot
  3. Do not use to serve infants
  4. Never put it in the microwave unless directly permitted by the manufacturer

When the material is too warm, it is more likely that it will release components into the food. This is not the case with every brand or manufacturer. Some have crafted their dinnerware with strengthening materials to allow it to be dishwasher and microwave safe.

If you have purchased dinnerware not dishwasher or microwave safe, consider using it to serve cold or room temperature menu items only. Options include finger foods, sandwiches, salads, cold snacks, and appetizers. Serving cool food reduces the risk of transfer.

G.E.T. melamine plate

Those who do experience melamine poisoning may exhibit kidney stones, kidney infection, elevated blood pressure, irritability, blood in urine, and inability to urinate properly ("What is Melamine?," 2021). However, as stated above, most commercial manufacturers have taken steps to safeguard their reputation, their customers’ reputations, and their customers’ customers. They produce BPA-free products, and many go the extra step of achieving NSF certification.

Benefits of choosing melamine dinnerware over ceramic, glass, and plastic include:

  • Increased durability – it is essentially unbreakable and shatter-resistant.
  • Extremely versatile – it can be used in every foodservice sector and in every section of ones’ operation. Colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns are available in every design. It can be engineered to imitate other materials such as wood, slate, or granite.
  • Offers sustainability – For businesses that place high value on the ecosystem, eco-friendly and recyclable options are readily available.
  • Affordability – While upfront costs may be higher than traditional materials, its increased longevity provides businesses the most “bang for their buck.”
  • Cleanability – As mentioned above, many manufacturers provide dishwasher safe options, making maintenance uncomplicated.
  • Care for safety – Measures have been taken to prevent contamination of products or food, making it a food-safe plastic.

As mentioned above, there are many sustainable options. We happen to sell two brands of note: G.E.T. and Elite Global.


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