Chinese Exec Pleads Guilty in Melamine Case
Sanlu leaders could face death penalty for tainted milk scandal
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2008 1:23 PM CST
Tian Wenhua, Sanlu Group Co.'s former board chairwoman and general manager, is taken by bailiffs into a court in Shijiazhuang, north China's Hebei Province, on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Ding Lixin)
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(Newser) – The former chair and general manager of China’s Sanlu group pleaded guilty to selling the tainted powdered milk that killed six children and caused a national food scare, the New York Times reports. Tian Wenhua said she knew that the firm’s milk contained dangerously high levels of the industrial chemical melamine in May but did not report it until August.

Tian and three other high-ranking Sanlu executives may get life imprisonment or the death penalty for their roles in the scandal. State media reports say that Tian was informed in May that no more than 20mg of melamine could be safely present in a kilogram of food but that powdered milk sampled in September contained more than 2,000mg per kilogram.