BEIJING, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Sanlu and other 21 Chinese dairy firms that were implicated in a tainted milk scandal apologized to the public via text messages on Thursday.
"We are deeply sorry for the harm we have brought to children and to the society," said the message. "We offer our sincere apology and plead for forgiveness."
The firms will compensate sickened children and cover all expenses for any aftereffects of the melamine-contaminated milk, according to the message. The 22 firms have established a compensation fund for victims.
The companies also pledged to get rid of all the substandard products and open themselves up to the public.
Sanlu's former board chairwoman and general manager Tian Wenhua and three other executives stood trial in Hebei Province on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to producing and selling fake or sub-standard products.
Six babies died and more than 290,000 infants suffered from urinary problems such as kidney stones after drinking tainted milk. The scandal was exposed in September 2008.
Medical organizations across the country had provided free diagnosis and treatment to affected babies and would continue to do so until no new cases were reported, according to the Ministry of Health.