AB 688 Protects the Most Vulnerable From Ineffective or Non-Nutritional Food and Drugs

by Richard Holober, Consumer Federation of California

Poll: Three Quarters of Californians Support AB 688

The Consumer Federation of California is proud to sponsor AB 688 (Pan), which fills a gap in the regulation of expired and potentially unhealthful food and drugs.

Federal health regulations require expiration or ‘use by’ dates on the labels of infant formula, baby food, and over the counter medication. Food processors guarantee the nutritional value of formula and baby food until the ‘use by’ date. Pharmaceutical companies guarantee the effectiveness and safety of medication until the expiration date.

This weekend, CFC conducted a poll of 443 likely California voters that found 74% support for AB 688.[1]

There is no clear prohibition against grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers selling these products after their expiration dates. Examples of major chain stores accused of selling these expired products include:

Toys’R’Us ‘ San Diego’s ABC-TV Channel 10 News reported on finding expired infant formula or baby food for sale at four San Diego area stores. 

Rite Aid ‘ Consumer Federation of California shoppers purchased expired medications at two dozen stores in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. The states of New York and New Jersey sued Rite Aid for selling expired formula, baby food and medications at dozens of stores in each state. 

CVS ‘ Attorneys General in California, New York and Connecticut have sued CVS stores for selling expired formula, baby food and over the counter medications at scores of store locations.   

Other national retailers that have faced lawsuits brought by state agencies for selling these expired products include Target and Walmart. 

Last week, Consumer Federation of California shoppers purchased expired baby food, infant formula or over the counter medications at Northern California stores owned by Walgreens, Target, Lucky, Safeway, Walmart and Toys’R’Us.  

Consumer Federation of California joins other consumer groups, pediatricians, nurses, scientists, labor, parents and senior citizens in urging Governor Jerry Brown to protect the very young, the ill, and all Californians by signing AB 688 into law.


The non-profit Consumer Federation of California has worked for better consumer protections since 1960.

[1] Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz statewide survey of 443 likely November 2012 voters, conducted September 15-18, 2011. Question asked: ‘Recently, the California State Legislature passed a bill that prohibits grocery and drug stores from selling infant formula, baby food, and over-the-counter medications after the expiration date.  Do you support or oppose this bill’? Results: 74% Support, 15% Oppose, 11% Don’t Know/No Answer.