The Netherlands withdraws bamboo and corn fibre tableware

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority advised on Monday February 15 against using tableware made of bamboo or corn fibre, including coffee cups.

The reason for this is that there is a chance too much toxic formaldehyde can end up in your food or drink when using containers made of these materials.
Bamboo and corn fibres are processed into so-called melamine plastic, which has been found to release toxins when it comes into contact with heat. This can lead to stomach irritation and ulcers. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) is having such products removed from stores.

A notice on the NVWA website states: Bamboo cups are popular as reusable cup for coffee and tea. When drinking hot beverages from bamboo cups, there is a risk that formaldehyde is released into the drink. The current limit can be exceeded. Furthermore, bamboo is not authorised as part of plastic cups. Therefore, BuRO advises the minister for Medical Care and Sport, amongst other things, to inform consumers about this finding and the NVWA to ban these types of food contact materials from the market.

The Minister for Medical Care and Sport, Tamara van Ark, has written in a parliamentary letter that the NVWA and Bureau Risk Assessment & Research (BuRO) advises consumers to stop using bamboo melamine tableware, which is used to make cups and bowls, amongst other things.

Babies and small children have a higher risk of health problems from formaldehyde than adults because they can take in more of this substance in relation to their body weight. NVWA states that the current SML for formaldehyde (15 mg/kg) offers insufficient protection for children’s tableware. The necessary action should be taken to adjust this SML so that it offers sufficient protection.

The NVWA has informed importers and suppliers of these products that they must immediately withdraw the products from the market. If they continue to sell it, they will be reprimanded. The message is: ‘Better not to use it at all’

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