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Chinese Dairy Producers Agree to Compensate Victims for Melamine Poisoning

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The industrial chemical melamine, discovered in toxic amounts a few months ago in Chinese infant formula and other milk-based products, and later in trace amounts in US infant formula, has thus far caused nearly 300,000 Chinese infants to become sick, and six to die, of kidney-related ailments.

After months of investigations, 22 Chinese dairy producers who manufactured the melamine-tainted products are finally offering to compensate victims for the deliberate contamination that has led to so much suffering and death. According to health officials, producers added the chemical, usually an ingredient in plastic products and laminates, on purpose to artificially boost the protein content of their milk products after watering them down to save on costs.

"The enterprises offered to shoulder the compensation liability," the country’s Dairy Industry Association said Saturday, according to state news agency Xinhua. "By doing so, they hope to earn understanding and forgiveness of the families of the sickened children."

The group said victims will receive a one-time cash payment, but did not provide the amounts, according to Xinhua. "The money for compensation is in place now and will soon be handed to the people who have custody of the sickened children through various channels," the association said.

No date for the payments was given. The 22 dairies also raised money to cover medical bills for any after-effects suffered as a result of the poisoning, the association said. -CNN

In China, hundreds of babies are currently still hospitalized as a result of melamine poisoning.

Counter to its original position that no amount of melamine could be deemed “safe” for infant consumption, almost immediately after finding trace amounts of the chemical in Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula With Iron, and Mead Johnson’s Enfamil Lipil With Iron infant formula, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that trace amounts of melamine were not dangerous to infant health. So far, there have not been reports of American infants suffering from kidney stones or other kidney problems as a result of melamine contamination.