Two Recalls Dampen Holiday Cheer

enfamil infant formula recall
enfamil infant formula recall

This is the time of year when retailers can't seem to move product out of their stores fast enough, but now we have Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) scrambling to get some of their merchandise back.

The country's two largest discount department store chains have issued product recalls this week.

Walmart's situation is the graver of the two. A 10-day-old baby died from a rare bacterial infection in Missouri, and it may have been the result of Mead Johnson Nutrition's (MJN) Enfamil sold at Walmart.

The retailer is pulling the infant formula batch with the problematic lot number as investigators determine whether the Enfamil powder, the water used to mix the formula, or something else led to the infant's tragic death.

There's obviously a fair chance that the formula itself had nothing to do with the baby's passing, and even if it is the case, it will be Mead Johnson Nutrition taking the real hit here. Shares of Mead Johnson were trading as much as 12% lower today on the news.

Target's recall involves excessive levels of lead paint in a kids travel case, but there have been no reports of any children getting sick. Target sold 139,000 of the Circo travel cases between April and August of this year, and the retailer is initiating a recall of the Chinese-made products because the surface coating on the cases exceed the federal lead paint standard.

Recalls happen all the time, and the real challenge is simply getting the word out. How many of those 139,000 buyers will ever know that their kids are toting around a travel case coated in excessive lead paint?

Retail isn't perfect, especially now, during the madcap holiday shopping season.

Walmart is one of11 rock-solid dividend stockssingled out in a special Motley Fool report. Want to know the other 10? It's a free report, but it won't be around forever, socheck it out now.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart Stores.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart Stores as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Get info on stocks mentioned in this article: