Court upholds tainted milk sentences

April 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM
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SHANGHAI, April 24 (UPI) -- A court in China upheld prison sentences for two former dairy company executives convicted of producing and distributing tainted products, court records show.

The court in Shanghai Friday rejected appeals from the defense for leniency for the former executives of Shanghai Panda Dairy Co. Ltd., China Daily reported Saturday. The court upheld a sentence of five years in prison and a 400,000 yuan ($58,000) fine for Wang Yuechao, a former deputy general manager of the company, and a 4 1/2-year prison sentence and 300,000 yuan ($43,000) fine for former General Manager Hong Qide.

The two were convicted last month of producing and selling toxic food, an offense that can be punishable by death, China Daily said.

Former Deputy General Manager Chen Dehua was also convicted in March but did not appeal his sentence of three years in prison and a 200,000 yuan ($29,000) fine.

Court records from the first trial of the three executives indicate the company produced 6,520 cans of condensed milk tainted with melamine, using diluted tainted milk from another Chinese company to save money. Shanghai Panda sold half of the cans it produced, the report said.

Melamine, an industrial chemical, was at the center of a series of tainted food scandals in China in 2008, when at least six babies died and an estimated 300,000 were made sick from drinking tainted milk.

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