In November 2003 three Israeli babies died after having been fed Remedia soy formula, which turned out not to contain the essential vitamin B1. Dozens of other children suffered severe damage, with a third dying just two weeks ago. (The article that mentioned the recent death said it was the third one, but other sources from 2003 quote 3.)
There have been recent developments in this story. The “Remedia children” have turned 7. The Globes business magazine contains a long expose about a large group of children who suffer from health and developmental problems including epilepsy, hypothermia, speech delays, and fine-motor delays. Here’s a translation of a shorter article about the findings:
The new victims of Remedia: Seven years after the Remedia scandal came out, three new studies show that dozens of additional children suffer from specific problems as a result of ingesting the company’s soy formula.
In 2003, the country was shocked when it became clear that the mysterious illness that struck 40 babies in different hospitals was caused by ingesting Remedia’s soy formula. The formula lacked Vitamin B1, a fact that caused an irreversible delay in development. Additional children were checked at the time and found to be healthy.
It turns out that the symptoms of those “healthy” children simply took longer to appear. Dozens of children found healthy 7 years ago are suffering today from serious problems with comprehension, vocabulary, coordination and balance.
The difficult facts will be exposed this week at the conference of the Israeli Council for Child Development, as published today (Monday) in Yediot Acharonot. Today the symptoms appear in dozens of children, but the fear is that 600 to 1000 additional children may be affected.
The Remedia children get significantly lower results than their peers on many tests. This appears in two studies compiled by Dr. Aviva Petael-Velovsky. More than 80% of the Remedia children suffer from severe disabilities in language skills, and 50% suffer from disruption of motor development.
An additional study found a link between Remedia and mental retardation, spinal distortion, scoliosis, brainstem disruption that lead to difficulties with sight and hearing, and even epilepsy.
Seven years after the scandal erupted, the Israelis involved in the event have not come to court. Several workers employed by Humana, the German manufacturer of Remedia, were fired in connection with the scandal. Over the years the company has paid restitution fees of more than 100 million shekels to 40 families.
In the longer article, Globes interviews the author of the studies along with parents. They attack the Health Ministry, that has refused to recognize what they see as the cause of the problems. Also, the ministry has been conducting studies but hasn’t released any results.
Today the Health Ministry released a finding about ADHD and soy formula.