China recently executed two executives of a milk production company for their role in selling more than three million pounds of contaminated milk powder than sickened at least 300,000 children and was linked to the death of six infants. One of the executives was found guilty of selling more than 1.3 million pounds of tainted milk powder from July 2007 to August 2008, while the other was convicted of selling more than 1.9 million pounds of the contaminated product. The evidence showed that an industrial chemical, melamine, was added to create the illusion of a higher protein content in the powder, but it turned out to sicken the children who ingested it, weakened China’s dairy industry and provoked a global recall of the Chinese-made products.
While our country would have and should have criminally prosecuted those individuals responsible for inflicting so much tragedy, our civil justice system would also have held the company liable for the injuries sustained by the victims, as well as responsible to the family members of those who lost their lives. In China, the company (Sanlu Group, a major dairy company in the Hebei providence in northeast China) was simply taken over by a state-controlled company. There were no provisions for those deserving of redress from a civil standpoint, and those are the people who most deserve proper consideration. Our justice system would place the interests of the victims on the front burner, demanding attention to those who lost so much. China’s lack of focus on the people will serve to undermine confidence in the government; while those who remain in our country can rest assured the lawyers in the United States will fight a never-ending battle to have those responsible to be held accountable – both civilly and criminally.