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The Associated Press June 9, 2010, 11:34AM ET

Mead Johnson discontinues chocolate drink for tots

Children's formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. said Wednesday it will discontinue its Enfagrow Premium chocolate toddler drink due to what it called "misunderstanding and mischaracterization" over the product's intended use.

There had been news reports about parents concerned that a chocolate-flavored drink aimed at tots was inappropriate amid skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity, although the drink contains no more sugar than other drinks aimed at children.

The company said the product has a "superior nutritional profile" to other beverages such as apple juice and grape juice, but said there has been misunderstanding about who the intended consumer is for the product and the role it is intended to play in a child's diet.

Mead Johnson said the drink was intended for toddlers who have been weaned off breast milk or formula but still need "nutritional support" from their main diet, particularly picky or erratic eaters.

"The resulting debate has distracted attention from the overall benefits of the brand, so we have decided to discontinue production of Enfagrow Premium chocolate toddler drink and phase it out over the coming weeks," the company said in a statement.

Shares rose 92 cents to $49.67 during midday trading.

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