28 Dec 2008

Six charged over tainted milk scandal

6:52 am on 28 December 2008

Six people have gone on trial in China over a tainted milk scandal that killed six children and made hundreds of thousands of others ill.

The trials are taking place in northern Hebei province, which is where the San Lu dairy group is based. Part-owned by Fonterra of New Zealand, San Lu is one of several companies involved in the scandal.

Chinese state television showed two of the men in court in handcuffs, their heads bowed while three judges questioned them.

One of the defendants is accused of producing and selling more than 600 tonnes of the chemical melamine mixed with malt starch to another defendant, who's a dairy farmer.

Some collectors added it to raw milk and sold it to San Lu.

San Lu admitted in September that it had sold melamine-tainted milk powder, causing kidney stones and other complications in children. The company has since been declared bankrupt.

Others involved in the scandal are expected to face more serious charges.