Humana error

Related tags Management Baby food

German manufacturer Humana Milchunion Everswinkel has dismissed
four executive employees following mistakes in the production of
infant food formula sold in Israel. Among those losing their jobs
are the head of product development and the directors of the
quality control unit and chemical laboratory.

German manufacturer Humana Milchunion Everswinkel has dismissed four executive employees following mistakes in the production of infant food formula sold in Israel. Among those losing their jobs are the head of product development and the directors of the quality control unit and chemical laboratory. Although the economic consequences of the mix-up are thought to have been minimal, the company risks losing a great deal of consumer trust.

"At this point in time, it can not be ruled out that the soy-based infant formula produced by us might possibly have led to the death and illness of babies in Israel,"​ said Humana's CEO Albert Grosse. "We are all gravely shaken and concerned by that. We feel deep and sincere sympathy for the families concerned."

The dismissals come after in-house investigation carried out by the company. Grosse claims that measures have now been implemented that make it impossible for the same type of error to occur again. "Even in case of such co-incidence of errors and personal negligence it will be impossible to release a faulty product for shipment,"​ he said.

From now on, all new formulations and recipe changes of Humana products will be subjected to a full laboratory test of the ingredients before release for initial production. Only if the external laboratory confirms that the declarations of the ingredients are correct the production procedure may be initiated. This, says the company, is not currently required by law.

In addition, for every new formulation and recipe change in future, the responsible managers of the product development and the quality assurance departments must give written confirmation that the quality control procedure was adhered to.The products will not be cleared for shipment if this confirmation is not given. Should the responsible authorities consider it necessary to make the corresponding tests and registrations a binding requirement for new formulations and recipe changes, Humana would expressly welcome it.

In an attempt to allay any doubt in the general public, Humana has also commissioned two accredited scientific institutes with a test for vitamin B1 on a total of 53 baby food products. "Some results have already been submitted to us,"​ said Grosse. "They confirm that the vitamin B1 content of the products is absolutely safe. The remaining test results are expected in the next few days."

The first mistake was made during the product development of the new soy-based formula. A team of product developers at Humana wrongly interpreted analysis data with the result that vitamin B1 was not added as it should have been. This meant that the ersatz milk contained only one tenth of the vital vitamin as stated on the packet.

The second error occurred in the quality control sector. Although German law does not require it, the new product was sent to the highly-respected LUFA-ITL laboratory in Kiel. When the analysis came back in May, data concerning the vitamin content was missing. Nonetheless, the scientific staff of Humana accepted the product analysis as complete.

The third mistake occurred when in September it was noticed by chance that the data on vitamins were missing. A follow-up inquiry was communicated to LUFA on 22 September 2003. There it was confirmed that there was no test done on vitamins at all. The necessary intervention was not initiated. Humana​ says that it will cooperate with the Israeli authorities in order to investigate appropriate measures in support of the families affected by the mistakes.

Related topics Processing & Packaging