You know the bamboo tableware, from forks to knives and plates? Well, they will soon be banned in Switzerland. Even if they are eco-sustainable and “green”. The reason? As ilfattoalimentare.it explains, they will be withdrawn from the market and banned because they can be harmful to the health of consumers. In short, the ecological alternative would hide serious pitfalls. The point is that these products are made by blending bamboo fibers with resins and plastic polymers, which can contaminate food with dangerous substances, such as melamine and formaldehyde. This is why they are neither biodegradable nor compostable.
The date of the official withdrawal has not yet been communicated, but the measure has been confirmed by the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary (Usav) in RSI. The decision came after an investigation by the Consumer and Veterinary Affairs Service (Scav) of the canton of Geneva, which yielded worrying results.
In detail, 88 samples of tableware made with vegetable fibers were analyzed, including those in bamboo. The samples were then analyzed for about forty substances, including formaldehyde, melamine and endocrine disruptors. For the latter, the checks did not reveal any irregularities. The problem, if anything, concerns formaldehyde and melamine: 38% of the products were out of standard due to the overcoming of the limits of these substances, at the base of the plastic resin used for the manufacture of the products in question.
As the study explains, when bamboo dishes are heated or come into contact with acidic foods, such as lemon, vinegar or tomato, they can release formaldehyde and / or melamine, which could contaminate the food that was then ingested. It should be remembered that formaldehyde is considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a carcinogen for humans (group 1), while melamine can cause kidney injury. In short, banned in Switzerland. What will Italy do?