Chinese pair on trial over tainted milk

December 27, 2008

BEIJING: Two Chinese went on trial yesterday accused of making and selling the chemical that tainted the milk blamed for killing six children and making nearly 300,000 others ill.

Police say Zhang Yujun and Zhang Yanzhang illegally produced a protein powder composed mainly of melamine and malt dextrin, Xinhua news agency reported.

It was added to raw milk to make it appear high in protein.

An official at the Hebei supreme court confirmed the Xhangs' trial started at the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court.

Sanlu Group Co, the main company in the scandal, is bankrupt, owing 1.1 billion yuan ($235 million) - most of it borrowed to pay for the medical treatment for children sickened after drinking its infant formula, and for compensation to the families.

Police said they found a workshop run by the Zhangs on the outskirts of Jinan, in Shandong province, eastern China, according to Xinhua. They said it made 600 tonnes of the fake protein powder between September last year and October and was the largest source of melamine in the country.

Sanlu is 43 per cent owned by the New Zealand daily co-operative Fonterra Group.

Associated Press

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