Part of my job involves food inspections/prosecutions etc if folk do wrong. I do get annoyed when food business owners get away with £300 fines for gross negligence regarding food hygiene in this country.
But, I kinda think maybe China take it more seriously...
China sentences two to death over tainted milk
Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:33pm GMT
By Lucy Hornby
SHIJIAZHUANG, China (Reuters) - A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced two men to death for their role in a tainted milk scandal that killed at least six children, while the woman most widely blamed for the tragedy got life in jail.
Nearly 300,000 children fell ill last year after drinking milk intentionally laced with melamine, a toxic industrial compound that can give a fake positive on protein tests.
The latest in a string of food safety failures that have blighted the "made in China" brand, it was also one of the worst and prompted an outpouring of public anger.
Beijing may have timed the sentencing to try and tame outrage ahead of China's most important holiday.
The closely watched trial of middlemen and executives from the Sanlu Group, a now bankrupt firm that had failed to report cases of infants getting sick from drinking its products, wrapped up just before the Lunar New Year.
A handful of parents traveled to the gritty industrial town of Shijiazhuang and waited for hours in the freezing cold -- at a time when most of the country is planning family reunions -- to hear what justice their children would get.
"Spring Festival is coming up, but what happiness is there for us?" said Hou Rongbo, whose son died in early January just a week before his first birthday. Hou believes his death from a leukemia was caused or worsened by melamine that also gave him kidney stones.
Many families have focused their anger on Sanlu's former general manager, Tian Wenhua, and felt betrayed that she would not face execution. Tian pleaded guilty late last year to charges that do not carry the death sentence.
"She should have been shot," said Zheng Shuzhen, a 48-year-old who said her granddaughter died in June of kidney failure after drinking Sanlu milk formula. She said the girl was not on official lists of victims as she died before the scandal came to light.
"So many children died but they kept the official number down so that she could get life (in jail), not death," Zheng added.
Tian was also fined 24.5 million yuan ($3.6 million). Sanlu, partly owned by New Zealand's Fonterra dairy cooperative, was fined 49 million yuan.
Melamine, which can cause kidney stones, is meant to be used in making plastics, fertilisers and even concrete. Its high nitrogen content allows protein levels to appear higher when it is added to milk or animal feed.