Bereaved Parents Testify Against Execs, Health Officials

The testimony stage of the Remedia affair began yesterday, as two bereaved parents took the stand.

The affair broke six years ago after two infants died and 23 others sustained permanent injuries due to a lack of the vitamin B1 in the company's baby formula.

Defendants in the affair include three senior officials from the company's local management as well as Health Ministry officials.

A representative of the Health Ministry inspectors stated in the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court yesterday, "We are not immune to another Remedia affair. No country in the world is immune."

The representative said that since the affair broke, the changes at the ports regarding food inspection have eased the import process, and have not made inspections stricter.

The Remedia officials are accused of negligent manslaughter and causing bodily harm.

The two first witnesses were Ilia Olnovsky and Michal Zisser, whose children, Guy and Avishai, died after consuming the vegetable-based formula.

Olnovsky said his son was rushed to intensive care, where he was diagnosed as having multiple organ failure. Nine hours later he died.

In their cross examination, the defense attorneys argued that the formula did not lack B1. Olnovsky then responded: "If it would bring Guy back, I am willing to say whatever you want. You bring Guy back and I will return all the money." Remedia had paid the family NIS 1.3 million in compensation, without accepting responsibility for the death.

Zisser, whose son was 2 months old when he died, described how his condition worsened. "He became yellow, sighed, his eyes rolled, I remember running with him in my hands, shouting: 'Save him!'"

Two days later the nurse told her that they had taken the child off artificial respiration, only to put him back on later.

"I understood that if he was unable to breathe, he would not be able to live," said Zisser.