EFSA reduces tolerable intake level for melamine

Tuesday 13 April 2010

The European Food Safety Authority has lowered the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for melamine, a chemical mainly used in the manufacture of certain plastics, as new analysis indicates that it may cause harmful effects to the kidneys at lower levels of intake than previously thought[1].

Applying statistical analysis to the toxicological data which is currently available, EFSA’s expert Panel on contaminants in the food chain (CONTAM Panel) set a new TDI of 0.2 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight. This is in line with the TDI set by the World Health Organisation in 2008.

Small amounts of melamine can migrate into foodstuffs from materials such as melaware plastic cups and dishes. However, exposure data analysed by EFSA’s Panel on food contact materials (CEF Panel) indicated that exposure to melamine through foodstuffs is generally below the TDI.

The opinion recommended that EU limits for the migration of melamine into food should be reconsidered, given that food is not the only source of exposure.

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