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Death Sentences Handed Down in Toxic Milk Scandal

Two men will be put to death and a woman will be imprisoned for life after at least six babies died and 300,000 people became ill after drinking infant powdered formula that was deliberately contaminated with an industrial chemical.

Tian Wenhuaa, 66, was the head of Sanlu Group, a dairy company, and is the most senior official charged after the health crisis. Sanlu's baby formula had been laced with melamine, a nitrogen-rich chemical. Melamine is used to make plastics and fertilizer. Its presence in the product appeared to give the formula a higher protein content than it actually had.

At trial. Wenhuaa admitted that she had known about a problem with the formula being contaminated for at least four months before notifying authorities. Three other company officials received sentences of between 5 and 15 years. Zhang Yujun, 40, was one of the men who was sentenced to death for running a workshop that produced the melamine. Six hundred tons of the substance were mixed into the formula.

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