VACIJING — China executed a dairy farmer and a milk salesman Tuesday for their roles in the sale of contaminated baby formula, severe punishments that Beijing hopes will assuage public anger and reassure importers.
Most executions in China are by firing squad.
The men were the only people put to death in a scheme to boost profits by lacing milk powder with the industrial chemical melamine; 19 other people were convicted and received lesser sentences. At least six children died after drinking the adulterated formula, and more than 300,000 were sickened.
Melamine is used to make plastics and fertilizers. The chemical, which like protein is high in nitrogen, fooled inspectors. It can cause kidney stones and kidney failure.