JERUSALEM (JTA) — A manager at the Israeli baby formula firm Remedia was convicted of negligent manslaughter for not revealing that the formula was deficient in vitamin B1.
Frederick Black, quality and technology food manager at Remedia, also was found guilty on Wednesday in Petach Tikvah District Court of injury through negligence, deceiving consumers and acts contributing to the spreading of a disease because he was aware that the formula was deficient of B1 but did not tell anyone.
Judge Lia Lev On said in her ruling of a case that began 10 years ago that the main guilt lies with Humana, the German manufacturer of the formula, 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 non-dairy vegetarian formula under the Remedia label sold between July 2003 and November 2003 that did not contain B1, which is essential to a baby’s development.
Then-Remedia CEO Gideon Landsberger was acquitted of negligent homicide and other serious charges, but was found guilty of violating standards.
Five Israeil 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.