Create a free account to continue

Mead Johnson Gets Apology From China Agency

Mead Johnson and other makers of baby formula were accused of using vanillin, a common vanilla substitute, which is not allowed in products for infants.

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) — Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. rebounded in premarket trading Wednesday after a Chinese agency conceded that invalid testing led to erroneous reports that vanillin had been found in baby formula from companies including Mead Johnson.

Mead Johnson said it got an apology for the erroneous reports from the Hunan Provincial Credit Construction Promotion Council.

"Not only do our products comply with all Chinese laws and regulations, but they also meet or exceed all international standards," Matthew Chapple, Mead Johnson senior vice president and general manager for China, said in a statement.

On Tuesday the Chinese magazine Caijing reported online that vanillin, a common vanilla substitute, was found in the baby formula of companies including Mead Johnson Nutrition.

The magazine said that according to China's National Food Safety Standards for Users of Food Additives, vanillin should not be allowed in formula meant for infants from birth to six months of age.

Caijing said that Mead Johnson Nutrition, which makes Enfamil, and the other companies involved in the report — including Abbott Laboratories and Wyeth — questioned the test result shortly after it was published.

The initial report sent Mead Johnson's shares down 3.4 percent on Tuesday, but its shares rose $1.71, or 2.3 percent, to $77 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

Mead Johnson Nutrition said Wednesday that the safety and quality of its products and regulatory compliance of its baby formula manufacturing processes were separately confirmed by China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

China has been intensely focused on the safety of milk-related products since 2008, when the toxic chemical melamine was found in some of the products of Chinese milk powder maker Sanlu and more than 20 dairies. Sanlu has since filed for bankruptcy, Caijing said.

More in Operations