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Fat Guy

Melamine

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What's the deal with melamine bowls, plates, etc.? Are they safe? Is that the same melamine that was killing pets a while back? I like those cheap melamine bowls available in Chinatowns and such but am I doing something harmful by serving hot soup in them?

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Suppossedly Melamine is not toxic to post-infant humans on its own.. however when it combines with Cyanuric Acid (a commonly used water disinfectant) it can create havoc on the kidneys (which ultimately is what killed all the pets). Unfortunately, the FDA allows for Cyanuric Acid to be added to Drinking Water & Animal Feed... and of course has no control of what goes into Pools or Cookware.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/06/AR2007050601034.html

All signs point to not trusting Chinese made Melamine cookware & dinnerware.

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Vintage "Melmac" made in the U.S. is safe to use for serving food.

You can't put it in the microwave or heat it in the oven, temps over 70° C will cause it to break down.

U.S. manufacturers were:

Duraware, Santa Paula, CA, Texas Ware, Dallas, TX, Harmony House (sold at Sears), Hemcoware (Westinghouse), Stetson Melamine, Manitowoc, WI, Boontonware Melmac, Boonton, NJ, and Russell Wright - Northern Plastic Co., Boston, MA. and later by Home Decorators, Inc., Neward, NY. Two of his designs in Melamine received Museum of Modern Art Good Design awards in the early '50s.

There were several more smaller manufacturers who produced dinnerware for department stores and for other companies with trade names. Disney commissioned many items, mostly for children's dinnerware.

The stuff is very collectible and has become more so during the past couple of years since appearing in some films and TV shows.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Vintage "Melmac" made in the U.S. is safe to use for serving food.

You can't put it in the microwave or heat it in the oven, temps over 70° C will cause it to break down.

U.S. manufacturers were:

Duraware, Santa Paula, CA, Texas Ware, Dallas, TX, Harmony House (sold at Sears), Hemcoware (Westinghouse), Stetson Melamine, Manitowoc, WI, Boontonware Melmac, Boonton, NJ, and Russell Wright - Northern Plastic Co., Boston, MA. and later by Home Decorators, Inc., Neward, NY. Two of his designs in Melamine received Museum of Modern Art Good Design awards in the early '50s.

There were several more smaller manufacturers who produced dinnerware for department stores and for other companies with trade names. Disney commissioned many items, mostly for children's dinnerware.

The stuff is very collectible and has become more so during the past couple of years since appearing in some films and TV shows.

Without being xenophobic or anti trade vis-a-vis China... the breakneck industrial growth, inability of governance to keep up, and the country's recent record.. I think justifies being very leery of Chinese made products & a bit more trusting of domestic manufactured items or those coming from places with a good track record.

Nonetheless... it would still be hard to trust Melamine products made in the USA for a couple of reasons....

1) While the mentality of making profits at all costs & "Frontier Capitalism" might be more blatant in China.. it is still a very big problem in the U.S. and corporate lobbyists have gained greater & greater control of government & society.

2) Thousands of new polymers & chemical compounds have been introduced to the U.S. markets in the last 30 years without much scrutiny. The onus is on people who are injured by the new chemicals to file lawsuits & prove the products are harmful... not for manufacturers to prove they are safe before putting them on the market.

Given Melamine's known potential for synergistic toxicity... I think unfortunately we have gone so far in the direction of unbridled industrialization & chemicalization... that rather than benefit from advances... it almost seems like we should all go back to making our own dinner ware. I recently saw disposable plates made out of dried leaves... might have to learn how to make them :sad:

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For me the issue with melamine is not so much its safety as so long as I am not eating it I consider it relatively safe. The issue is that unlike most other things in my kitchen it is neither microwave nor dishwasher safe. I tossed mine after a few "senior" moments when I had stuff in a melamine container and realized I would have to move it to another container in order to microwave it or heat it some other way. It's cheap and attractive but that seems to be all it can lay claim to.

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Lets go back to the tried and true made in america old style dinner ware - orange Fiestaware!

So, you prefer uranium and lead to melamine?


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Lets go back to the tried and true made in america old style dinner ware - orange Fiestaware!

So, you prefer uranium and lead to melamine?

I am telling you its all about making your own from leaves :raz:

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I could be mis-remembering but I think my first microwave came with a shallow melanine dish to be used for microwave-safe heating.

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I could be mis-remembering but I think my first microwave came with a shallow melanine dish to be used for microwave-safe heating.

Melamine, because of its chemical content and composition, was never suitable for microwave cooking.

Brief heating, at low power is okay but even that can cause uneven heating. Not recommended.

I had one of the early consumer microwave ovens, the Amana Radarange, purchased in 1967 and there were several things on the "DON'T" list, among them was -use china with metal decoration, -use Melamine, Bakelite or wooden dishes, -use non-heat-resistant glass dishes or blown glass vessels., & etc.

Plastics, specifically developed for microwave, were not introduced until the later '70s and they were not always of the best quality and would deform if exposed for too long or the food in them reached too high a temperature.

In the early '70s Corning introduced a couple of handy "browning" cookers, one a "grill pan" with a ribbed bottom and a round "roaster that actually had a wire rack for the bottom - and it specified that there had to be a large enough hunk of meat or chicken to control the effect of the microwaves on the metal.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Lets go back to the tried and true made in america old style dinner ware - orange Fiestaware!

So, you prefer uranium and lead to melamine?

Doesnt everybody? Weren't the old ways always better?

I dunno, EatNopales, about leaves. Be careful which ones you choose. Those lovely broad rhubarb leaves will hold a lot of food, but they arent as pretty as the little trio of red leaves so common around here in spring.

<editted to correct typo>


Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

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Lets go back to the tried and true made in america old style dinner ware - orange Fiestaware!

So, you prefer uranium and lead to melamine?

Doesnt everybody? Weren't the old ways always better?

I dunno, EatNopales, about leaves. Be careful which ones you choose. Those lovely broad rhubarb leaves will hold a lot of food, but they arent as pretty as the little trio of red leaves so common around here in spring.

<editted to correct typo>

These are kind of what I am talking about: http://compostablegoods.com/product_info.php?products_id=214

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I've got two melamine (at least I am pretty sure they are) mixing bowls. I use them for all sorts of stuff. Mixing. Temporary storage of liquids and sauces and soups just off the boil. Longer term storage of stuff in the fridge. I alawys wash them in the microwave.

Are they slowly killing me? :shock::blink::huh:

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I've got two melamine (at least I am pretty sure they are) mixing bowls. I use them for all sorts of stuff. Mixing. Temporary storage of liquids and sauces and soups just off the boil. Longer term storage of stuff in the fridge. I alawys wash them in the microwave.

Are they slowly killing me? :shock::blink::huh:

How are they identified on the bottom? Some hard plastic bowls are not made from melamine.

How do you "wash" them in the microwave?

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Are there any Melamine blue luster glow looking dishes?

I hate ceramic etc cause it breaks and Im clumsy.

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Can't say I have ever seen a blue lustre in melamine, but there are some nice pieces of blue melamine around.  Melamine in general is a bit hit and miss, it's not very desirable but can be had dirt cheap if you know where to look.

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57 minutes ago, Cronker said:

Can't say I have ever seen a blue lustre in melamine, but there are some nice pieces of blue melamine around.  Melamine in general is a bit hit and miss, it's not very desirable but can be had dirt cheap if you know where to look.

 

I have no china in my house except for the 3 oval Cincinnati Chili plates the former owner left for me, I only have Target Swell Brand Melamine.But after years in the dishwasher its starting to chip.

I remember when Melamine first came out and they said it was okay in the microwave, but since its an organic natural protein, it starts to heat up and can burn people, so I try not to put mine in the nuker.


Edited by GlorifiedRice (log)

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18 hours ago, GlorifiedRice said:

Are there any Melamine blue luster glow looking dishes?

I hate ceramic etc cause it breaks and Im clumsy.

 

Is this what you mean? 

 

20171230_140440.jpg

 

I bought this last year; it's made in China by tagRlivingTM. It has the weight and feel of decent ceramics: heavier than Corelle or fine china, lighter than stoneware.  The back side doesn't have the luster look, and it looks like melamine then, but the front is visually convincing.  (Audio purists like me will also object to the plastic 'clack', but many folks don't seem to notice sound.)  I find it much better than most melamine in terms of heft and appearance.  I've seen it in off-white and deep burnt orange as well as this aqua color. It's very sturdy.

 

It's supposed to be dishwasher safe; I haven't tried it.  It is not microwave safe.

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On 12/30/2017 at 12:54 PM, GlorifiedRice said:

 

I have no china in my house except for the 3 oval Cincinnati Chili plates the former owner left for me, I only have Target Swell Brand Melamine.But after years in the dishwasher its starting to chip.

I remember when Melamine first came out and they said it was okay in the microwave, but since its an organic natural protein, it starts to heat up and can burn people, so I try not to put mine in the nuker.

 

I thought melamine predated microwaves?

I found a microwave destroyed any pieces I put in it. Had to get Corelle for the boat when we introduced the microwave.

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I have three favoured pieces of blue melamine - two were moms, another a thrift store find. I think they are veggie serving bowls - but mom used them to scramble up the eggs, etc for french toast and for breading various foods for shallow frying.

 

IMG_7850.jpg.eba040526bc704fc38540b223c5d82c7.jpg

 

IMG_7851.jpg.4cff6f5a5c74fa22285145f3a6595670.jpg

 

They dip down a little on the sides. The one to the right is newer and much lighter than the other two originals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Melamine dishes were first introduced in the 1930s and were in widespread use/production by the late 1940s. The Raydarange was first introduced in 1947, but it was an expensive commercial product. The home consumer models were first released in 1953, at a hefty price. It was far more likely for a home to have melamine dishes in the 50s and 60s than a microwave.

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@Kerry Beal @Lisa Shock

 

I always thought Melamine came out to be used as biodegradable frozen food dinner plate. such as Le Menu or was it Le China (those came with chopsticks)

and when the plates became hot and burnt people they took it away and did something else with melamine...

I never recall my grandma having any melamine Im shocked its been around since 1930.

I do know the Chinese put it in baby formula to boost the protein level and were caught.

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On 12/30/2017 at 9:54 AM, GlorifiedRice said:

I always thought Melamine came out to be used as biodegradable frozen food dinner plate.....I remember when Melamine first came out and they said it was okay in the microwave, but since its an organic natural protein, it starts to heat up and can burn people, so I try not to put mine in the nuker.

 

19 minutes ago, GlorifiedRice said:

I do know the Chinese put it in baby formula to boost the protein level and were caught.

 

Melamine is not a protein, nor is it biodegradable.  It is a chemical compound that is high in nitrogen and will confuse the results of certain protein tests that measure nitrogen to estimate protein content. More here and here.

The concern with using melamine dishes when heating food in the microwave is not so much that the plates might burn people but that a certain amount of melamine can migrate into the food (particularly high acid foods, at high temperatures) and be consumed.  The FDA believes that without heating, the levels of melamine migration into food are low enough to be deemed safe, except for babies.  More here

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