It is light, almost indestructible and often comes in cozy colors: bowls, plates or cups made of bamboo fibers.
But the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has been warning since Monday: no longer use these types of plates and other tableware made of bamboo, mixed with synthetic resin melamine. Users could possibly ingest too high a concentration of the substance formaldehyde, which can cause irritation to the stomach, among other things. Since Monday, bamboo tableware can no longer be sold immediately, the NVWA reported.
In addition, the Nutrition Center issued the advice on Monday not to use tableware that consists entirely of melamine for hot food and drinks for children up to the age of three.
1What exactly is wrong with bamboo tableware according to the NVWA?
Plates, cups and other bamboo fiber kitchen utensils have gained popularity in recent years, writes the NVWA, because of its environmentally friendly appearance: it is an alternative to plastic. But German research from 2019 concluded that part of the bamboo tableware (supplemented with melamine) releases too much formaldehyde when people eat or drink it.
Subsequently, the NVWA supervisor concluded after an investigation. But even if synthetic resin melamine without bamboo is used in tableware, it has disadvantages, it was announced on Monday. The Bureau Risk Assessment & Research (BuRO), part of the NVWA, came to the conclusion that the European safety standard for melamine does not properly protect children up to the age of three. Melamine, just like melamine bamboo mixes, is used to make many children’s tableware, such as cups and plates. Formaldehyde is mainly released at higher temperatures. Hence the advice of the Nutrition Center not to give young children hot food or drinks from plates or cups made of melamine. Other uses are not discouraged.
In addition, the European food watchdog EFSA decided last year that bamboo is not an approved raw material for making tableware, “safety cannot therefore be guaranteed”, writes the NVWA.
2What kind of fabric is formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is found in all kinds of everyday products: from food, to paint, textiles and cigarettes.
If people ingest too much formaldehyde through food or drink, “harmful health effects cannot be ruled out, such as stomach irritation and the formation of stomach ulcers,” BuRO writes in the recently published study.
3 How bad is it when you have already used these kinds of plates or cups in the past, for yourself or for your children?
According to the Nutrition Center, there is “no immediate cause for concern,” said a spokesman. According to the Nutrition Center, the harmful effects of formaldehyde, irritation to stomach and intestinal mucosa, will pass immediately “when you stop using”. In addition, there are “no indications that long-term effects occur after the use of bamboo melamine tableware. There are no known cases of this. ”
A version of this article also appeared in nrc.next of February 16, 2021
NVWA advice: no longer use bamboo plates
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