Kraft Foods and Heinz have refused to be drawn on reports linking them to rival bids for US infant food firm Mead Johnson.

The two US food giants are rumoured to be interested in Mead Johnson, which is one of the leading baby formula businesses in the US.

A Kraft spokesperson told just-food today (13 December) that the company "does not comment on rumours or speculation".

A spokesman for Heinz was equally coy, although he added that infant nutrition is a "growing business" for the company.

"Infant nutrition is a growing business for Heinz.  In our second quarter, our infant nutrition business grew 26%," the Heinz spokesman said. "We have a great infant nutrition business in countries such as Canada, Italy, China, the UK, Russia and Venezuela."

Officials at Mead Johnson's owner, pharmaceutical group Bristol-Myers Squibb, could not be reached for immediate comment.

Nestlé owns US market leader Gerber, which it bought in April for US$5.5m.