Chinese companies involved in milk scandal to compensate victims

December 27th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Dec 27 (ANI): Chinese kids who fell ill or died after drinking tainted baby formula milk will soon get financial compensation from 22 Chinese dairy producers, Chinas Dairy Industry Association has announced on Saturday.

Victims will get a one-time cash payment, according to the association said, which however did not divulge the specific amounts that may be doled out.

The enterprises offered to shoulder the compensation liability. By doing so, they hope to earn understanding and forgiveness of the families of the sickened children, Xinhua reported.

In all, 22 dairy producers, including the Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group, sold products tainted with an industrious chemical known as melamine.

The Chinese Ministry of Health said it was likely the contamination killed six babies. Another 294,000 infants suffered from urinary problems such as kidney stones.

The scandal began with revelations of contamination of Sanlu milk products. The New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra, which owns a 43 percent stake in Sanlu, said they were alerted to melamine contamination on August 2 (almost a month before the issue became public), and claimed to have pushed hard for a full public recall.

Although there was an immediate trade recall, Fonterra said that local administrators refused an official recall.

On September 17, Health Minister Chen Zhu stated that tainted milk formula had sickened more than 6,200 children, and that more than 1,300 others, mostly newborns, remain hospitalised with 158 suffering from acute kidney failure.

The figure rose to 54,000 children were reported to be sick and four had died by September 23.

A World Health Organisation official said 82 percent of the children made ill were 2 years of age or below.

The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety said that 99 percent of victims were aged under 3 years. (ANI)

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