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Court to render verdict in 2003 baby formula affair
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
Three babies died, 20 suffered harm after Remedia’s vegetarian formula was changed; case of three company officials handed to court.
The verdict in the case of three former senior Remedia officials in the 2003
baby formula affair will be handed down Wednesday by the Petah Tikva
The three officials – Gideon Landsberger, who was the
company’s directorgeneral; Moshe Miller, a former owner of the company; and
Frederick Black, the company’s former food technologist – stand accused of
negligent homicide and committing acts likely to cause disease.
three babies died and 20 suffered serious harm because Remedia’s vegetarian
formula was changed and did not include Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), even though the
cans stated that they did.
Many other babies were hurt.
is used by the body to break down sugars, releasing energy into the
Vitamin B1 deficiency reduces the amount of energy available and
can harm bodily systems, particularly the central nervous system.
B1 also prevents concentrations of lactic acid.
Without it, too much acid
accumulates in the body, which affects the baby’s sense of
Damage to the central nervous system creates neuropathological
symptoms including sleepiness, slowness, depression, lack of appetite, diarrhea
In 2011, a group of five Health Ministry officials pleaded
guilty to negligence with the likelihood of causing a disease, but without a
formal criminal conviction to go on their records, for failing to properly
supervise and report to the public on the problems associated with the Remedia
The five were sentenced to community service.
ministry employees were Dr. Dorit Nitzan- Klosky, who was in charge of the
National Food Service at the time of the affair, and four supervisors at the
Ashdod and Haifa ports, whose job it was to examine food imports.
received the formula from a German-based company called Humana Milchunion, which
makes baby food.
As recently as January 2012, the Health Ministry was
still being criticized for faulty oversight of certain pharmaceutical companies
and their drugs.
Subsequent to the criticism, the Health Ministry
announced that it would establish a website to receive reports of side effects
from another drug, Eltroxin, the drug for hypothyroidism that an independent
investigative committee found underwent changes in its composition and caused
side effects in some 800 Israelis.
Judy Siegel contributed to this