New law seeks to ban sale of expired baby food, medicine

by Niesha Lofing, Sacramento Bee

A southern California legislator is proposing a law that would forbid stores from selling expired baby products and over-the-counter medicines, but one company implicated as having sold expired goods is not taking the accusation lightly.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and others held a press conference in Los Angeles Wednesday calling for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s support of the bill, AB 1512.

The law, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of California, prohibits retailers from selling baby formula, baby food or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals after the "use by" date, a news release from the organization states.

The legislation follows investigations by California and New York attorney generals, which found that "many retailers were selling consumer products with expired labels," the release states.

The governor has until Sunday to sign the legislation.

Follow the link below to see which company was investigated by the consumer organization.

Rite Aid was lambasted by the non-profit consumer advocacy organization for having done what the legislation seeks to prevent.

Volunteers investigated 59 Rite Aid stores in the state during a recent one-week period. Of the stores, 24 were said to have been selling expired products, the release states.

Rite Aid corporate officials were stunned at the news and have asked the Consumer Federation of California for copies their receipts and other documentation of the expired goods.

"It is never our intent to sell outdated products and as a result we take these situations very seriously," said Cheryl Slavinsky, director of Rite Aid’s public relations.

Slavinsky said the company has a "comprehensive product freshness program" in all of its stores, which includes weekly checks for outdated products.

"We already have ordered an immediate check of the merchandise in our stores, as well as a check on our store controls and policies," she said.

Rite Aid also encourages customers to look at expiration dates on products and report any outdated products they may find. Rite Aid will refund any customer purchase of an outdated item.

The legislation is supported by several consumer protection and health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumers Union, First 5 Los Angeles and California Nurses Association.

What do you think of this legislation? Should there be a law in place prohibiting sale of items beyond their "use by" date or is it up to the consumer to check dates on products before they buy them?