Remedia food technologist found guilty in Israeli baby formula scandal

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A food technologist was convicted of negligent manslaughter for not revealing that Remedia baby formula was deficient vitamin in B1, in a case that began 10 years ago.

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The main guilt lies with the German company, Humana, which manufactures the formula, Petah Tikvah District Court Judge Lia Lev On said Wednesday in her ruling, but added that the local defendants were not absolved of guilt.

Four babies died and dozens suffered permanent damage to their nervous systems after consuming Remedia non-dairy vegetarian formula sold between July 2003 and November 2003 that did not contain vitamin B1, essential to babies’ development.

Frederick Black, quality and technology food manager of the Remedia company, was found guilty of negligent manslaughter, injury through negligence, deceiving consumers, and acts contributing to the spreading of a disease, because he was aware that the formula was B1 deficient but did not tell anyone.

Then-Remedia CEO Gideon Landsberger, was acquitted of negligent homicide and other serious charges, but was found guilty of violating standards.

Five Israel Health Ministry employees accepted a plea bargain of up to 500 hours of community service from the court in June 2011  in exchange for admitting that they committed an act that “might spread disease,” for not realizing that the formula did not comply with its labeling. 

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