Remedia Defendants Plead Not Guilty

Not guilty, the defendants in the Remedia case pleaded yesterday, on the grounds that no causal relationship had been proven between the absence of vitamin B1 in soy-based infant formula, and the death of two babies in Israel.

Three former officers of Remedia, which doesn't exist any more, face charges: food technologist Frederick Black, CEO Gideon Landsberger, and director Moshe Miller. The charges include causing the death of two babies through negligence and causing harm through negligence to 23 infants.

Defense lawyers told the Petah Tikva District Court that they might put the parents of the two dead infants, and the doctors who had treated them, on the stand.

The formula was manufactured by the German company Humana Milchunion and marketed in Israel by Remedia. The prosecution claims not to have possession of investigative material collated in Germany, and told the court that because of legal obstacles, it may not be able to obtain the material. If so, the prosecution said, it would ask the court to rule that the material is not relevant.

A defense lawyer argued that the Germans closed the case against Humana, based on a scientific document claiming that no causal relationship had been found between the babies' problems and consumption of the soy-based formula. "Where is that document?" the lawyer asked. "It attests that beyond doubt there are documents in the German inquiry file that could be relevant here."

Judge Lia Lev On wrote in her ruling yesterday that the process of trying to obtain the investigative material from the Germans should be expedited. The defendants asked for permission to amend their response to the charges after the material is obtained.