Execs to face charges over vitamin B1 formula scandal

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Thiamine, Vitamin

Former executives from a firm that supplied infant formula that
contained vastly insufficient quantities of the essentual B1
vitamin (thiamin), allegedly resulting in the death of two babies,
are to face charges, according to reports from the Israeli media.

Vitamin B1 was erroneously excluded from a kosher soy-based milk substitute sold by formula Remedia in 2003, a draft of the indictment charges to be brought against three former heads of the company states, which also alleges that the company did not inform the public of the error.

The case, which has been the subject of a three-year enquiry, draws attention the need for stringency in manufacturing standards and labelling, particulaly in the emotive formula market which is increasingly targeted by nutrient and functional ingredient suppliers.

B1 is vital for the development of babies' nervous systems. It also plays a role in humans of all ages, in the proper function of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, muscular function, conversion of blood sugars into glucose, and helping the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The incident allegedly resulted in the deaths of at least two babies and the hospitalisation of a number of others who suffered damage to their nervous systems.

Prosecutors also allege that labels claimed the product contained more vitamins than it actually did.

According to reports, five health ministry officials will also face charges for "actions that could result in the spreading of disease"​ over allegations that they did not check that the formula's content conformed with the label claims when it arrived in Israel from German manufacturer Humana.

Th head of ministry's national food service is believed to be amongst those facing indictment.

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