SHIJIAZHUANG, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The former board chairwoman of bankrupt dairy giant Sanlu Group has had her life imprisonment over the company's 2008 toxic baby formula scandal commuted, a local prison confirmed on Thursday.
Tian Wenhua was convicted and jailed for her role in the company's producing and selling melamine-laced dairy products in 2009 but has had her penalty reduced to 18 years behind bars, the Hebei provincial women's penitentiary told Xinhua.
The prison said Tian, 72, had received two commutations, the first in 2011, for her "good behavior" and "for showing repentance."
In one of China's biggest food scandals, Tian's Sanlu was found to have sold products that the company knew was mixed with melamine to cheat protein content tests. The practice caused the deaths of at least six Chinese babies and left 300,000 others ill. Sanlu went bankrupt in the wake of the scandal.
China's dairy industry has since been haunted by a series of safety scandals though authorities intensified crackdowns on substandard products and increased quality checkups. In February, police in south China's Guangdong Province seized 12 tonnes of yogurt tablets tainted with melamine.