Kroger Co. (KR), Walgreen Co. (WAG) and other retailers pull out newborn formula manufactured by Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN) following death caused of a newborn. Another newborn infected with the same bacteria was also fed with the same formula.
The surviving baby, who fell sick in Missouri during a trip from its Illinois home, had been given a number of different products, and 17 samples were taken for tests, the FDA said today. Samples in the case of the newborn who died include an open formula container and a mixture of formula and water.
Cronobacter, environmental bacteria is part of a family of microorganisms called Enterobacter sakazakii that has a fatality rate of 40 percent to 80 percent in infants.
Results of sample screening of the formula and water may not come until next week. The U.S. Food and Drug administration confirmed that if the presence of bacteria is found in unopened formula, a formal recall could follow.
Food safety consultant said, If an infant is using this formula and your child is exhibiting any of the symptoms, get them seen right away and make sure they test for this. U.S. health officials said that about four to six such cases are reported in a year. Parents have become concerned and are searching for alternatives. More than 60 parents have posted comments about the formula on popular sites such as Cafemom which carried news of the Missouri infant death.
The Enfa brands, which include Enfamil, accounted for 79% of Mead Johnson revenue. They are the world’s lead brand franchise in pediatric nutrition based on retail sales. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Mead Johnson’s revenue from Wal-Mart is about 12% of the total revenue. A widespread recall may decrease as much as 15% from Mead Johnson’s sales next year. The U.S. accounts for about 30% of the company’s total sales.
The Missouri Department of Public Health and Senior Services has issued an alert on the infection and fatality of the bacteria.
Lorry Rubin, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York said that glassware and bottles should be cleaned and sterilized; water should be boiled and cooled before it is added to powered formula; and any extra prepared formula should be immediately refrigerated and used within 24 hours.
The share price fell by 5.1% after Wal-Mart pulled its Enfamil Newborn formula from shelves.