Parent of China melamine victim receives compensation

21:05, March 01, 2010      

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The mother of a young victim of China's melamine-tainted milk powder scandal has received 60,000 yuan (8,823 U.S. dollars) in compensation from a producer and a retailer, a court in southern Guangdong Province announced Monday.

The Intermediate People's Court in Foshan City made the ruling after second trial last week.

A court official said the final compensation amount was double the 30,000 yuan ordered at first trial, but was still far less than the woman's claim for 395,868 yuan.

The woman, surnamed Wang, took the Guangdong-based Yashili Group and a supermarket in Foshan to court last year after her son was sickened by melamine-tainted Yashili brand infant formula.

The court refused to name the supermarket, but the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolitan Daily newspaper reported that the Haohaoduo supermarket was responsible for selling the powder.

Wang's son, born in October 2007, had to undergo surgery to remove a kidney stone when he was a year old.

Though the child recovered after the surgery, Wang worried the problem might worsen his congenital heart disease and demanded Yashili Group and the retailer bear all future medical costs incurred.

The court held that there was clear evidence the powder producer was responsible for the boy's kidney disease, but did not agree to Wang's further compensation claim.

"When Wang appealed after first trial, we decided it was crucial to raise funds for her to cover the child's medical expenses," said He Lirong, the judge who handled Wang's case.

With the court's mediation, the retailer offered an extra 30,000 yuan in compensation.

At least six infants died and almost 300,000 became ill across the country after consuming dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine. The scandal was first reported in September 2008 and prompted a food safety overhaul nationwide.

According to the official compensation scheme published by the Ministry of Health last year, families whose children died from melamine poisoning were to receive 200,000 yuan from the concerned dairy firms.

Compensation for serious illnesses such as kidney stones and acute kidney failure was 30,000 yuan and that for less severe cases was 2,000 yuan.

The Supreme People's Court said in March 2009 that at least 95 percent of the victims had been compensated. The figure has not been updated.

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