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April 24, 2010

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Jail upheld for dairy execs

A COURT in Shanghai yesterday upheld jail terms of three to five years for three Shanghai Panda Dairy executives for producing and selling melamine-tainted milk products.

Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court threw out the appeals of Wang Yuechao, Hong Qide, and Chen Dehua and issued a ruling stating the initial verdicts were made on the basis of verified, abundant evidence and in accordance with legal procedures.

It also upheld a 900,000-yuan fine (US$131,752) for the three passed by the Fengxian District court.

The trio, all managers of Shanghai Panda, reused tainted milk made during the 2008 melamine scandal. They used the tainted milk, either returned from customers or left in stock since the scandal, to produce condensed milk products to save costs.

The three confessed to producing and selling products with melamine at the second trial, but claimed in their appeal they had no idea the poisonous chemical had been added.

Wang and Hong appealed their convictions on grounds they were ignorant of the details of the production process and Chen appealed his sentence on the grounds it was excessive.

Shanghai Panda Dairy was shut down after its milk powder and milk flavoring were found to contain excessive amounts of melamine in April last year. The three were officially arrested in June.

Melamine can cause kidney stones and kidney failure. It was added to milk to deceive protein tests.

China's toxic milk powder scandal in 2008 killed at least six infants and sickened 300,000 children, sparking widespread outrage.

Contaminated milk resurfaced last year after some dairy plants used leftover melamine-tainted milk powder that should have been destroyed in 2008.


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