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Walgreen, Kroger Restock Mead Johnson Formula Cleared by FDA

Walgreen Co. (WAG), Kroger Co. and Supervalu Inc. (SVU) returned Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN)’s infant formula to shelves after U.S. regulators said the product wasn’t linked to a deadly bacterial infection.

The batch of Glenview, Illinois-based Mead Johnson’s Enfamil Premium Newborn, pulled last month after a Missouri infant’s death, is being restocked, spokespeople for the three companies said today. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) is still trying “to determine the appropriate next steps,” said Dianna Gee, a spokeswoman, in an e-mail.

The formula was removed after regulators said the Missouri baby infected by the bacterium Cronobacter had used Enfamil. Infections were also reported in children in Illinois, Florida and Oklahoma, prompting tests of other brands. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Dec. 30 statement that they found no evidence the illnesses were due to contaminated formula.

“In light of the FDA test results indicating no safety concerns with Enfamil, we are in the process of restocking the product in our stores,” said Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Supervalu, said in a telephone interview.

Walgreen stores have also been cleared to return the product to shelves, said Vivika Panagiotakakos, a spokeswoman for the Deerfield, Illinois-based drugstore chain, by e-mail. Keith Daley, a spokesman for Cincinnati-based Kroger (KR), said the formula was back on sale as of this weekend.

Mead Johnson, the maker of the world’s best-selling baby formulas, fell 0.3 percent to $71.13 at 4:05 p.m. The company gained 3.8 percent yesterday, the first trading day after regulators said they’d found no signs Enfamil was contaminated.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Nussbaum in New York at +1-212-617-5406 or anussbaum1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at +1-212-617-2563 or rgale5@bloomberg.net

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