Nov. 10, 2010 /EIN Presswire/ – Zhao Lianhai, a vocal critic of the Chinese milk industry for permitting tainted and deadly products to reach the consumer market, has been sentenced to two and one half years in prison on charges of “disrupting social harmony.”

Fifty thousand people were hospitalized after drinking milk contaminated with melamine, a compound used in making plastics and fertilizer. Tests demonstrated that the milk was watered down and laced with melamine to raise its protein count content.

Zhao’s son was one of those sickened by the milk product and he responded by protesting publicly by talking with reporters, displaying signs and organizing other parents of children taken ill by the contaminated milk. Six babies died and the number of those sickened has been estimated at 300,000.

Chinese authorities arrested an uncounted number of farmers, dealers and executives responsible for the deadly contamination, which resulted in a global recall of Chinese dairy products. Two executives were executed. Others were given jail terms, including life in prison.

But the Chinese authorities withheld revelations about the tainted milk for a month so that it would not be in the news prior or during the Beijing Olympics.

Zhao was editor of a publication covering food and product safety. Through this publication and a web site, he encouraged parents to file lawsuits against dairy companies that escaped punishment. Zhao was arrested by authorities last November.

For more food news, visit Food Industry Today (http://food.einnews.com), a food media monitoring service from EIN News.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: