The Weizmann Institute of Science is threatening to sue the Remedia company for naming its consultant, Prof. Samuel Edelstein, as a member of the scientific institute's staff.
In a statement released yesterday to the press, the institute said: "Samuel Edelstein is not a professor at the Weizmann Institute. There is no connection between the Weizmann Institute and Remedia. We plan to sue Remedia if they do not stop misleading the public."
Remedia announced on Tuesday that it would resume marketing its products and would impose extremely stringent quality controls that would be checked and approved by Edelstein. This follows the death of three infants and severe harm caused to another 13 who were fed a Remedia soy-based milk substitute that was lacking in Vitamin B1.
Heinz Israel, which now markets Remedia's milk formula products locally, presented Edelstein as a Weizmann Institute professor who would test the ingredients in the formula and the finished product and receive results of laboratory tests carried out on samples in England. He would then stamp them to certify that they had been "checked and approved" by him according to the highest standards, Heinz's deputy director of marketing, Dalit Tzur, told a news conference.
The Weizmann Institute statement noted that Edelstein was not a member of its staff. "He was formerly an associate professor, but left on early retirement on December 31, 2000," the statement added. "It is therefore clear that publishing that he is a professor from the Weizmann Institute is not correct and constitutes deception of the public."
The institute spokesperson added that, "according to the regulations... Edelstein is not allowed to use and/or publish the fact that he worked in the Weizmann Institute in the past, unless it is for purposes of the institute. The institute has no connection to the Remedia company and it has not carried out any tests on the company's products."
The spokesperson said that the institute's legal advisers had approached the directors of Heinz and Remedia and demanded that they immediately cease using the institute's name, publish a clarification and apology, or face a legal suit.
A Remedia spokesperson responded that the institute's allegations were "groundless." He said that the Weizmann Institute was mentioned at the news conference as part of Edelstein's resume and that it was therefore correct to say he had indeed been "from the Weizmann Institute." The spokesperson added that Edelstein had never been presented as a current professor at the institute.
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