Four arraigned in China’s baby food scandal

December 29th, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Shijiazhung (China), Dec 29 (Xinhua) A Chinese court Monday arraigned four people involved in the tainted baby food scandal, which killed six babies and affected nearly 300,000, for violating public security.
The Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court, which began the hearing for Gao Junjie, Xue Jianzhong, Zhang Yanjun and Xiao Yu (Gao’s wife), was told that the four accused produced and sold more than 200 tons of “protein powder” that was made from toxic industrial chemical melamine, malt dextrin and whey powder.

The powder was supposed to increase protein level of milk when added to it.

The prosecution held that the protein powder produced and sold by the four caused serious damage to the health and risk to life of consumers - especially infants - and that the four should be punished for endangering public security.

The accused could face at least 10 years in jail or even death penalty over the crime of endangering public security, according to Chinese criminal law.

Meanwhile, five other suspects involved in the scandal went on trial in three local courts in Hebei province Monday, facing charges of producing and selling poisonous food.

The courts have not announced the verdicts against the nine suspects.

Tian Wenhua, former board chairwoman and general manager of Sanlu Group, the company that was at the epicentre of the scandal, will face trial Wednesday in the Shijiazhuang court.

Tian faces charges of producing and selling fake or substandard commodities, according to court sources.

According to the health ministry, at least six babies, who were fed on the tainted baby food formula, died and another 294,000 infants suffered from kidney and urinary problems.

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