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Archive for Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dairy boss delayed reporting melamine

January 1, 2009

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— A former dairy boss in China’s scandal over tainted milk blamed for the deaths of at least six babies and illnesses of nearly 300,000 others has pleaded guilty to charges that could lead to the death penalty, state media reported.

Tian Wenhua, former board chairwoman and general manager of Sanlu Group Co., admitted in court testimony Wednesday that she knew of problems with her company’s products for months before informing authorities.

Her trial was the most high-profile yet in a food safety crisis widely seen as a national disgrace, highlighting corporate and official malfeasance.

At least six babies died and nearly 300,000 were sickened by infant formula sold by Sanlu and several other companies that was tainted with the industrial chemical melamine. Middlemen who sell milk to dairy companies were accused of adding water to raw milk, then mixing in nitrogen-rich melamine to fool quality tests for protein content.

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