Mead Johnson rises as regulators clear Enfamil

Mead Johnson rises after gov't says batch on Enfamil is not linked to bacterial infection

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. rose Tuesday after regulators said the company's Enfamil formula was not connected to a bacterial infection that sickened four infants.

THE SPARK: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration both said Friday that a batch of Enfamil Newborn formula was not related to four cases of a bacterial infection called Cronobacter sakazakii. A type of distilled water called nursing water also tested negative for the bacterium.

A boy in Missouri contracted the infection several hours after taking the formula and died a few days later, on Dec. 18. Retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreen Co., Kroger Co., and Safeway pulled a batch of Enfamil from their shelves as a precaution starting on Dec. 22.

Three other Cronobacter sakazakii infections were reported subsequently, including a baby in Florida who also died.

THE BIG PICTURE: The infection has been linked to powdered infant formula in the past, although it also occurs in the environment and on certain plants. Mead Johnson said it tests all batches of Enfamil formula for Cronobacter sakazakii before shipping, and that a second round of tests on this batch also came back negative. It did not recall the batch.

SHARE ACTION: Mead Johnson stock climbed $4.27, or 6.2 percent, to $73 in morning trading. They are still down 10.1 percent from their closing price Dec. 21, immediately before Wal-Mart's move.

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