A food technologist at Remedia Foods was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and negligent injury on Wednesday for the 2003 deaths of three babies and injuries of 23 more.
At the same time, the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s court cleared Remedia CEO Gideon Landsburger and former owner Moshe Miller in the case, in which a lack of B1 (thiamine) in the baby formula product damaged the nervous systems of the children.
The presiding judge, Leah Lev-on, found that Frederick Black, who was Remedia’s chief food technologist at the time, likely assumed that thiamine was in the formula, which was provided by international baby foods company Humana, but “did not receive test results and did not ask to see them,” even though he was aware that there was no specific test for the vitamin in the final production stages at Remedia.
Even though the product was provided by an outside contractor, Lev-on ruled, the defendant still had “the responsibility to market safe food.” The judge also ordered a renewed investigation of Humana, and opened the possibility of extradition to Israel of those who were responsible for the lack of thiamine in the formula.
The judge determined that it was not the job of Miller, the owner at the time, to known about the specific details of a batch, and he “could not know without it being brought to his attention.” She said Landsburger was also kept out of the loop.
In 2011, five health care workers accepted a plea bargain on charges of negligence in relation to the incident, and were ordered to perform 400-500 hours of community service.