I-Team Exposes Expired Baby Food, Formula Sold In Stores

by Channel 10 News San Diego, Channel 10 News San Diego

At six months old, Andree Savkin tasted his first bite of solid food, but the organic baby food he had turned out to be expired.

‘I was scared; I was nervous because it was the first baby food for my son, and also I was worried about other kids,’ said his mother, Alexandra.

Savkin said she’d purchased the food at the Toys "R" Us store in Oceanside. When she noticed the expiration date, after feeding it to her son, she called the corporate offices to complain.

‘I don’t know what happened with that complaint,’ she said.

When Savkin called the 10News I-Team, they sent researchers into four Toys "R" Us stores in San Diego over the course of one week.

The search started with Oceanside, where Savkin had purchased the food. Researcher Haley Sorensen walked the isles, checking expiration dates and taking notes.

‘We went into Toys ‘R’ Us in Oceanside for anything we could find that was expired,’ she said.

Sorensen found multiple canisters of baby formula that were past the sell-by date. Pointing to the shelf, she said, ‘All of these have expired over a month ago.’

Some of the expired formula was marked on sale, at a $4 discount.

Sorenson found a container of Enfamil LactoFree formula that had a ‘use by’ date that had passed three months before.

‘Use by April 1; it’s now July,’ pointed out Sorensen.

There was also organic juice that was 2 months past its expiration date, and Sorensen held up old boxes of toddler biscuits that were marked on sale.

‘All the remaining boxes, they’ve all expired,’ she said.

The Oceanside Toys "R" Us store had the most expired products, but I-Team researchers also found items past their ‘use by’ date in Escondido, National City and La Mesa.

‘I’m not surprised,’ said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. ‘I think in extreme cases it can be dangerous and cause a child to get sick."

Holober explained expiration dates are mandated by law for baby food and formula, although the dates can sometimes be very small and hard to read. Manufacturers only guarantee the safety and full nutritional value of those products up to the stamped date.

‘But remarkably, there is no law stopping the retailer from selling a product like infant formula after its expiration date," added Holober.

Last year, a bill that would’ve outlawed selling expired baby food and formula in California passed the state Legislature, but it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who argued that current laws were sufficient.

Holober said the amount of expired food and formula that the I-Team found for sale shows that the current law is not sufficient.

‘There is no legal protection right now for consumers,’ he said.

Toys "R" Us responded to the I-Team’s findings and said they do not knowingly sell expired food. The company stated: ‘Items due to expire ‘ are removed from our store shelves,’ and ‘store employees have been retrained on this issue to ensure this does not happen again.’

After receiving the company’s statement, I-Team researchers visited the Chula Vista store and found no expired products.

At the National City Toys "R" Us, the I-Team member Christian Cazares found expired juice displayed for sale.

After he picked up one of the bottles to purchase it, employees quickly cleared the entire shelf.

At the check out, the clerk checked the date stamped on the bottle and said she couldn’t sell the expired product. Holober said all retailers should deal with expired baby food and formula in that manner.