Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., maker of the world’s best-selling baby formula, fell the most since December after a Chinese magazine said a prohibited additive was found in two batches of the company’s products.
Caijing Magazine in Beijing reported that vanillin, which the publication said can harm babies’ livers and kidneys, was found in batches of formula produced in October and April. Gail Wood, a spokeswoman for Glenview, Illinois-based Mead Johnson, said the company can’t verify the report’s accuracy and is reaching out to Chinese regulators.
“We do not add vanillin to any of our stage 1 products,” which are for infants up to 6 months old, Wood said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We’re approaching the testing organization to understand their methodology and process.”
Mead Johnson fell 3.7 percent to $75.82 at 3:04 p.m. New York time, after dropped as much as 8 percent for its biggest intraday decline since Dec. 22.
Vanillin is used in Mead Johnson products for older children, Wood said, which are made in the same factories as the infant formula. The company has “over 2,300 quality control and safety checks” to prevent cross-contamination, she said, and all batches are inspected before they’re distributed.
The magazine said the additive was also found in formula made by Abbott Laboratories and Pfizer Inc.’s Wyeth unit. Pfizer fell less than 1 percent to $22.49, while Abbott increased less than 1 percent to $65.70.
Mead Johnson’s Enfamil brand is the best-selling baby formula in the world, with about 7 percent of global sales, according to Bloomberg Industries.
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