China Executes Two For Melamine Milk-Poisoning Scandal

November 23, 2009 06:00 PM
 

China executed two people today for their roles in last year's melamine milk scandal, according to news sources.

 

Zhang Yujun and Geng Jinping are the only people to have been executed over the scandal, BBC News reported. Nineteen other people were sentenced to prison terms.

 

Zhang Yujun was convicted of endangering public safety by dangerous means, for selling more than 770 tonnes of the tainted milk powder from July 2007 to August 2008, the official Xinhua news agency said.

 

Geng Jinping, who managed a milk production center, was convicted of supplying milk containing melamine to the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group and other dairies.

 

The two men were sentenced in January in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei, where Sanlu was based. Their appeals were rejected by the Hebei Provincial Higher People's Court in March.

 

Xinhua said the executions were carried out on Tuesday, but did not say where.

 

Six infants died and more than 300,000 people were sickened from infant formula milk powder that was contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical. In addition to infant milk powder, other dairy products, including fluid milk and yogurt, as well as foods that use dairy ingredients, like cookies, candy and baked goods, also were melamine-tainted.

 

The massive tainted-milk scandal crushed confidence in China's dairy sector and in its government regulation and enforcement ability. Daniel Chan, a dairy source in China, told Dairy Today earlier this year that the substantial losses both in sales and in goodwill toward China's dairy processors will constrain the country's financial reinvestment in its milk production for years.

 

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Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at cmerlo@farmjournal.com.

 

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