Police say Zhang Yujun, 40, ran a workshop on the outskirts of Jinan in eastern Shandong province that manufactured and sold a "protein powder" composed mainly of melamine and malt dextrin, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The powder was added to watered-down milk to make it appear high in protein content.
Melamine contamination in dairy products has been blamed for killing at least six children and sickening nearly 300,000 others.
Prosecutors in the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court accused Zhang of producing 776 tons of "protein powder" that contained melamine from October 2007 through August 2008, the largest source of melamine in the country. He allegedly sold more than 600 tons with a total value of 6.83 million yuan ($1 million), the court heard.
In the same case, a second man, Zhang Yanzhang, 24, was accused of buying and reselling 230 tons of powder to others.
State television showed both men in court in handcuffs with their heads bowed while being questioned by three judges.
An official at the publicity office of Hebei Supreme Court confirmed that the trial started Friday but refused to give his name or other details.
Four other men were being tried in three separate courts across Hebei province for adding the chemical to raw milk and then selling it to Sanlu Group Co., the main company in the scandal, according to Xinhua.
Melamine can artificially inflate protein levels and was apparently added to watered-down milk to fool quality inspectors while boosting profits.
Zhang Heshe and Zhang Taizhen were accused of adding 77 pounds (35 kilograms) of the "protein powder" to 70 tons of raw milk and then selling it to Sanlu. Yang Jingmin and Gu Guoping were also charged with adding 53 pounds (24 kilograms) and 37 pounds (16.7 kilograms) of melamine, respectively.
The verdicts will be announced at an unspecified date, Xinhua reported.
The dairy company Sanlu, based in Shijiazhuang, confirmed earlier this week that it was bankrupt.
Xinhua reported Thursday that Sanlu has 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) of net debt and that a branch of the Shijiazhuang City Commercial Bank was the creditor that applied to a court to have Sanlu declared bankrupt.