@Steve: I can't find anything to corroborate the idea that the head of the Chinese FDA was executed because of the 2008 melamine scandal
. I did find this article
from 2007 (so about a year before the milk scandal) which states that
China Ex-Food and Drug Chief Executed
Zheng was sentenced to death in May for taking bribes to approve an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths and other substandard medicines. Cao was given a death sentence last month with a two-year reprieve for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty.
I'm guessing even China probably did not execute two of its FDA chiefs in as many years. The article later makes mention of another
melamine scandal, which may be the source of the confusion:
In North America earlier this year, pet food containing Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine was blamed for the deaths of dogs and cats.
The wikipedia article on the 2008 scandal does state that two people were executed for their involvement, but I don't think they were FDA members:
Zhang Yujun (alias Zhang Haitao), a former dairy farmer from Hebei, produced more than 600 tons of a "protein powder" mixture of melamine and maltodextrin from September 2007 to August 2008.
Geng Jinping managed a milk production center which supplied milk to Sanlu Group and other dairies.
(Also, on a slightly more pedantic note, I'm sure you weren't being literal, but I highly doubt the guy was actually beheaded. According to wikipedia the methods of execution are lethal injection or shooting.)
EDIT: Also, that sucks about Robert Todd Carroll dying. }|:o( I hadn't heard about that yet either... That's a great loss to the skeptical community. Skepdic is perhaps my favorite online skeptical resource (aside from the SGU of course). Is there any word on whether someone will take over the site?