Two men have been sentenced to death and a third given life in prison for their involvement in the tainted milk scandal that killed at least six children and made at least 300,000 more sick.
Melamine is an industrial chemical that is used in the production of plastic — but when added to watered down foods such as milk — it causes a false positive when tested for protein.
One of the men sentenced to death was Zhang Yujun, who had made and sold over 600 tonnes of “protein powder” laced with melamine between October 2007 and August 2008, the official China Daily quoted prosecutors as saying earlier this month.
The powder was bought by middlemen who added it to pooled, watered-down milk from farmers that was then sold on to Sanlu. One of these men was also given the death sentence.
A third man was given a suspended death sentence, which usually means life in prison on good behavior. Other defendants received from five years to life imprisonment.
In other news, scientists have developed a test for melamine in milk. Researchers at Purdue University announced yesterday that their test can detect “tiny traces of the chemical” in about 25 seconds.