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Another 2 in tainted milk scandal appear in court
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Two more people involved in China's tainted milk scandal stood trial Tuesday at a court in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern Hebei Province.

The Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court accused Geng Jinping, manager of a milk production base and Geng Jinzhu, a driver at the base, of adding 434 kg of "protein powder" that contained the industrial chemical melamine to about 900 tonnes of raw milk.

The two Gengs sold the tainted milk to Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group, the dairy at the center of the scandal, and other places from October 2007 through August 2008, and made 2.8 million yuan(US$409,000), the court heard.

The protein powder, mainly made of melamine, malt dextrin and whey powder, was used to increase the apparent protein content in milk. Children can develop kidney stones after drinking the melamine-contaminated milk.

The Ministry of Health has said it was likely the contamination killed at least six babies. Another 294,000 infants suffered from urinary problems such as kidney stones.

So far, 17 people in the scandal have been put on trial in Hebei in the past few days. No verdicts have been announced yet.

Tian Wenhua, Sanlu's former board chairwoman and general manager, will face trial Wednesday in the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court. She faces charges of producing and selling fake or substandard commodities, according to court sources.

Sanlu Group stopped production on Sept. 12. A bankruptcy petition for Sanlu has been filed in the face of an 1.1 billion yuan debt, the city government said last week.

China's Dairy Industry Association announced Saturday victims who fell ill or died after drinking tainted baby formula will soon get financial compensation from 22 Chinese dairy producers. But the association did not say the amount of compensation or when the victims will receive it.

(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2008)

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