(photo credit: Channel 2)
Three years after three infants died and dozens were injured from eating a faulty non-dairy, soy-based formula distributed by the Remedia baby food company, the Central District Attorney's Office announced it would submit harsh indictments against the former owner and the CEO of the company.
Two other senior Remedia employees, as well as a senior official at the Health Ministry - former head of the ministry's food and nutrition service, Dr. Dorit Nitzan - along with four ministry inspectors of imported food at Haifa and Ashdod ports, who were supposed to have tested the formula, will also be indicted on charges of negligence in carrying out their jobs and actions liable to spread disease.
The crime carries with it a maximum sentence of three years.
The former owner of Remedia, Moshe Miller, along with CEO Gideon Landsberg and the company's food technologist, Fredrick Bleck, will all be accused of manslaughter by negligence.
According to the indictment the senior Remedia employees knew that the baby formula on supermarket shelves did not contain the essential B1 vitamin, altered the information on the ingredients sticker, and purposefully tried obstructing the police investigation against them by offering Remedia employees money for giving false testimony to police investigators.
The State Attorney's office, hinting at the long delay in presenting the indictments, said it was one of the most complicated investigations the Israel Police had ever dealt with and required visits to Humana in Germany.
The Health Ministry claimed after the tragedy that it was impossible to prevent a recurrence of such an incident, as it lacked the staff to test all food manufactured or distributed in Israel. Baby foods are now regarded as "sensitive products" that are supposed to be sampled and tested regularly like pharmaceuticals.
The Remedia affair erupted in November 2003, when it became known that 10 babies had been hospitalized with encephalopathy. All the infants had been fed on the Remedia infant formula.
Three families have already received compensation of NIS 10.5 million each from Remedia for the injuries caused to their infants by the faulty baby formula.