Are melamine plates safe to eat off of? 

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Are melamine plates safe to eat off of?” disadvantages and benefits of using melamine.

Are melamine plates safe to eat off of?

Yes, melamine plates are safe to eat off of. When manufacturers use melamine, heat is applied to the dishes to mold them. This heat uses up melamine though little doses of melamine do remain in the plates.

If extremely hot foods are placed onto melamine plates, there is a risk of melamine leeching off these plates onto the food.

It was also found by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that melamine leached onto the foods if the foods were kept at high temperatures and stored in melamine plates for a longer time.

Acidic foods placed onto melamine plates might also contain traces of melamine as acidic foods accelerate leaching. The amount of leaching though was found to be lower than the limits set up by FDA.

Formaldehyde is used to prepare melamine dishes which is controversial to use. It is also better to avoid microwaving melamine.

What exactly is melamine?

Melamine is a nitrogen-derived compound that is used to create a variety of products including utensils, plastic dishes, paper products, and countertops.

The beauty, variety, and durability of melamine dishes made them popular to use.

What are the advantages of using melamine tableware?

Many foodservice establishments have been switching to melamine. Read on to know why.

  • Melamine is cheaper than chinaware and attractive a well.
  • Melamine is often used to mimic antique dishes, china, or wood.
  • Melamine does not chip or break easily making it cost-effective.
  • It is lighter in weight making it easier to carry.
  • It is temperature resistant and does not burn your hands when warm foods are placed on them.
  • It comes in various colors and sizes.
  • It is also safe to be used in the dishwasher. Melamine dishwashers are available to clean melamine dishes.

Is melamine poisoning possible?

The levels of melamine in plates would vary depending on the manufacturer. If an individual is exposed to high levels of melamine, the following symptoms would be observed.

  • Increased risk of developing kidney stones or kidney failure
  • Bloody urine
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irritability in the skin or eyes can be observed. It also promotes allergies.
  • Reduced urine production
  • Formaldehyde used to prepare certain melamine dishes can increase the risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer.

Old melamine dishes leach out way faster than newer ones. Microwave foods only in plates or containers that are labeled as microwave safe. 

It is also important to note that infants should never be served anything in dishes containing melamine. Infants are more susceptible to melamine poisoning and should not be given heated foods in melamine dishes or milk in melamine containers.

Nonylphenol is a toxin present in melamine plates that are quickly metabolized in the human body after it is consumed.

What are some tips to use melamine dishes?

Although using melamine has drawbacks, if you know how to use the dishes properly, there is no reason to worry. Below are a few tips stated to use melamine dishes:

  • Serve only cooled or chilled food/ beverages in melamine tableware. You can also serve foods at room temperature as well.
  • Serve finger foods that have been heated in other dishes.
  • They can be used as trays to serve beverages or foods.
  • If you wish to consume warm foods on melamine dishes, avoid heating foods to more than 160℉.

How can you extend the shelf-life of melamine plates?

  • Avoid using melamine dishes to heat foods in a microwave or conventional oven.
  • Avoid using sharp knives on melamine plates.
  • Avoid using chlorine bleach, harsh cleaners, or steel wool on melamine.
  • Use a scrubbing pad to scrub the dishes.
  • Use a good-quality dishwashing detergent to clean melamine dishes.

Can melamine dishes be recycled?

No, melamine cannot be recycled but it can be used as a filler for wood or plastic. Eco-friendly varieties of melamine dishes are also coming up which are a mix between melamine and bamboo. 

Another drawback of melamine is that it can occupy space in landfills. Melamine plates can be converted to powder which can be added to foods which is harmful to public health as well.

Other FAQs on plates that you might be interested in.

What are the alternatives to melamine?

Here are a few alternatives to melamine dishes that you can use.

  • Stainless steel dishes
  • Bamboo dishes
  • Enamel dishes
  • Ceramic dishes

Certain dishes can also be labeled as “melamine free” by the manufacturers and you can opt to buy such dishes as well.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Are melamine plates safe to eat off of?” disadvantages and benefits of using melamine.