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Melamine can be present at low levels in food and feed mostly from its legal use as a food contact material in laminates and plastics, as a trace contaminant in nitrogen supplements used in animal feeds, and as a metabolite of the pesticide cyromazine. The mechanism of toxicity of melamine involves dose-dependent formation of crystals with either endogenous uric acid or a structural analogue of melamine, cyanuric acid, in renal tubules resulting in potential acute kidney failure. Co-exposure to melamine and cyanuric acid in livestock, fish, pets and laboratory animals shows higher toxicity compared with melamine or cyanuric acid alone. Evidence for crystal formation between melamine and other structural analogs i.e. ammelide and ammeline is limited. Illegal pet food adulterations with melamine and cyanuric acid and adulteration of milk with melamine resulted in melamine–cyanuric acid crystals, kidney damage and deaths of cats and dogs and melamine–uric acid stones, hospitalisation and deaths of children in China respectively. Following these incidents, the tolerable daily intake for melamine was re-evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organisation, and the Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This review provides an overview of toxicology, the adulteration incidents and risk assessments for melamine and its structural analogues. Particular focus is given to the recent EFSA risk assessment addressing impacts on animal and human health of background levels of melamine and structural analogues in animal feed. Recent research and future directions are discussed.▸ Melamine in food and feed. ▸ Forms crystals in kidney with uric acid or cyanuric acid. ▸ Toxicity higher with cyanuric acid. ▸ Recent EFSA risk assessment. ▸ Animal and human health.