Tainted Milk Trials Continue; Dairy Companies Pay US$160 Million
Two more men are on trial for the melamine-tainted milk scandal in China. So far seventeen suspects have faced court charges over the nation's high-profile food safety case.
Brothers Geng Jinping and Geng Jinzhu are accused of making and selling milk tainted with melamine.
The Gengs are accused of being "middlemen" who added melamine to milk, which was then sold to Sanlu, the largest Chinese dairy producer to have become embroiled in the scandal, and other dairy firms, CCTV said.
Geng Jinping, the former boss of a milk station, and Geng Jinzhu, a driver, had allegedly mixed 434 kilograms (955 pounds) of melamine-laced 'protein powder' with over 900,000 kilos of milk beginning October last year, CCTV said.
They sold product worth more than 2.8 million yuan (405,000 dollars) before being caught in September, according to the report.
At least six babies have died from drinking contaminated milk. In addition, more than 294 000 children suffered kidney and urinary problems. These victims are reported to receive compensation from the 22 Chinese dairy companies found to have sold tainted milk. A total of US$160 Million will be paid to the sickened victims and their families.
China Daily reported the 22 companies blamed in the scandal will make a one-time $131-million cash payment to victims.
The remaining $29 million would cover bills for lingering health problems, the paper said, citing an unnamed source from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
Details in the report roughly correspond to figures provided this month by lawyers seeking to sue the companies involved, who said most children who suffered kidney stones would get $290, while sicker children would be paid $4,380.
Families of children who died will each get $29,000, China Daily said.
These numbers seem meagre compared to the losses of the victims' families. However Chinese court refuse to hear individual lawsuits against the dairy firms.
But lawyers for the victims' families have criticised this as being not enough, after courts had rejected their own lawsuits against the companies.
Here is some previous NowPublic coverage of the milk scandal: