BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced a man to death and two others to life imprisonment for producing and selling dirty cooking oil, state media reported.
The black-market trade of recycled kitchen oil known as "gutter oil," which can contain carcinogens, has been a chronic problem in China.
The official Xinhua News Agency said the court in Jinan city in eastern Shandong province also sentenced seven other defendants in the case to five to 15 years in prison and fined them each up to 2 million yuan ($330,000).
Xinhua said three brothers began to produce the tainted oil in 2006 and sold it to 17 dealers in Shandong and Shanxi provinces for 52.4 million yuan ($8.6 million). One brother, Zhu Chuanfeng, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for producing and selling poisonous and harmful food. Such sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment.
The personal assets of all three brothers were seized, Xinhua said.
In recent years, Chinese consumers have been horrified by a series of food safety scandals. In 2009, the government enacted a tough food safety law that promised harsh penalties for makers of tainted products.