China Milk Scandal Trials Begin

Toxic formula left 6 babies dead, 300,000 others ill
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2008 1:33 PM CST
Melamine-tainted Sanlu products, including baby formula, are pushed into a pond at a garbage dump in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Trials began today in China for six people accused of intentionally tainting and selling the milk powder that killed six babies and sickened 300,000, the Guardian reports. The men added the toxic chemical melamine to diluted milk to help it pass quality tests in one of China’s worst food safety scares. Sentences could begin at 10 years, lawyers said.

One defendant is charged with producing 868 tons of the contaminated powder and selling it for nearly $1 million. The company that sold the milk is also under fire for alerting health officials months after it learned of the contamination. Sanlu is now in bankruptcy, and its former general manager could face the death penalty when her trial begins next week.