Food is an inescapable factor of daily life. Food containers such as plates, bowls, and other tableware made from melamine are among the most popular types of containers. Melamine wares are widely used both in restaurants and households due to their durability, ease of cleaning, availability in a variety of colors and designs, and affordability.
At the end of 2020, the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) imposed a new industry standard TIS 2921-2562, which is focused on the safety of food-contact melamine wares and utensils. On this occasion, we were honored to have Mr. Thana Alapach, Deputy Secretary-General of TISI, give us an overview of this new standard and changes to the melamine ware industry that business operators must prepare for to ensure that their products meet standards for the safety of consumers.
From General Standards to Regulations for Consumer Safety
A survey of commercially available melamine containers by the Ministry of Public Health found that more than 30% of melamine food containers released harmful contaminants during use, making it necessary for the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to impose a new TIS that focuses on melamine safety.
“The previous standard, TIS 524-2539, which is now amended to TIS 655 Volume 4-2561, covers all aspects of melamine ware quality, from water permeability, size, packaging, and durability all the way to consumer safety, but TIS 2921-2562 is a standard focused on enforcing safety, particularly the prevention of formaldehyde outgassing and durability in repeated usage.”
With the establishment of a standard for melamine safety applicable to all melamine food containers, this means that all industry operators, including material and product manufacturers, importers, and melamine brand owners, must be informed of the standard in order to ensure that the production and sale of melamine ware complies with regulations. Meanwhile, consumers must also be informed so that they may have the necessary knowledge to purchase melamine products that are safe for use.
Changes to the Melamine Ware Industry for Business Operators
Standard accreditation for TIS 2921-2562 conducted by the Thai Industrial Standards Institute address two components. The first is ensuring that products meet TIS quality requirements. For melamine containers, this means no outgassing of contaminants above the required standard. The second component concerns the manufacturing quality control system. The manufacturing facilities must have a good quality control system and maintain production quality to consistently meet the required standard.
“Industry operators must make preparations in two areas. The first is ensuring that products are improved and developed to meet the standard, and the other is improving the quality control system of their manufacturing facilities, beginning with the inspection of raw materials and the production process, all the way to arranging for adequate inspection equipment as required by the TISI. When all of these criteria have been met, operators can submit a request for a new license from the TISI.”
As for the process of submitting a request for TIS 2921-2562, manufacturers must prepare documents consist of an application for a license and the results of a manufacturing plant quality control inspection. Once all criteria have been fulfilled, manufacturers will be granted a manufacturing license as well as permission to use the TIS 2921-2562 logo on tableware or containers to guarantee the safety of their melamine ware.
Thai MFC Co., Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Chemicals Business, SCG, manufactures and sells melamine materials, is ready to provide comprehensive support to manufacturers and business owners, encompassing advice on document preparation and submission, and manufacturing facilities preparation to meet TIS 2921-2562 requirements, as well as providing training for manufacturers regarding the setup of on-site laboratories to meet the requirements of TISI. Apart from providing training and technical advices, SCG’s materials have also passed the TIS 1245-2553, which is a standard for raw materials, ensuring that they are ready for forming and molding into different tableware by manufacturers. Moreover, SCG have already submitted and secured TIS 2921-2562 hence, both manufacturers and consumers can feel assured that melamine ware produced by Thai MFC Co., Ltd. are of a quality that meets TISI standards.
Verifiability for Greater Safety
The safety benefits of TIS 2921-2562 are guaranteed to be passed on directly to consumers, as they are able to check for the TIS logo on products as well as refer to an online list of brands whose products meet standard requirements. Additionally, TISI is currently developing a system for ease of checking using QR codes that can be scanned for immediate access to information.
“Operators have the responsibility to adapt to the new standard, whether in improving products and procedures or monitoring products released to the market to ensure that they comply with the standard as required by law. All these procedures will directly benefit consumers, ensuring that everyone in the family is able to use tableware safely and guaranteeing a good quality of life to citizens of the country.”