Chinese media say dairy producers
that sold products containing the toxic chemical melamine have agreed to pay
compensation to the families of the nearly 300,000 children who became ill or
died as a result.
Six children died after ingesting products tainted with
The official Xinhua news agency said China's Dairy Industry
Association announced that 22 dairy producers will make one-time cash payments
to the victims' families.
The dairy industry association said the
companies will also pay the medical bills for any aftereffects of the
Xinhua did not indicate the size of the payments or name the
dairy producers that have agreed to make the payments.
On Friday, six
men charged with making and selling the tainted products at the center of the
scandal went on trial in four courts in China's northern Hebei
Xinhua reports that prosecutors say a cattle farmer named Zhang
Yujun in Quzhou County concocted hundreds of tons of a so-called "protein
powder" made of melamine and malt starch. They say one of his neighbors, Zhang
Yanshang, bought and resold the powder.
Four other men - Zhang Heshe,
Zhang Taizhen, Yang Jingmin, and Gu Guoping - in Wuji county are accused of
adding the powder to raw milk and selling the tainted milk to the Sanlu dairy
Sanlu was the first milk manufacturer found to be selling
products tainted with melamine when the scandal surfaced in September. The
company declared itself bankrupt earlier this week.
Many families of the
poisoning victims are seeking to bring the responsible companies to trial, but
say the courts are blocking their petitions.
Some information for this report was provided by
AFP, AP and Reuters.