California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. began investigating CVS last year and found the chain was routinely selling expired baby food, formula, dairy and over-the-counter medications.
Some examples provided by the Attorney General include: Gerber's Vanilla Custard, 11 months expired; Bright Beginnings Ultra Baby Formula, 3 months expired; and Gerber Baby Food Oatmeal with Applesauce and Bananas, 2 months expired.
This isn't the first time the national chain has been accused of selling expired products. Surveys in several other states, including New York, found widespread problems at CVS stores. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said his office discovered that more than half of the stores visited were selling expired products, including baby products, eggs and dairy.
CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis released a statement noting that the company "has denied all legal allegations made by the State of California and has agreed to settle the matter in order to avoid the time and expense of further investigation or legal proceedings."
And, he added, CVS has a policy in place to help clear items from the shelves before they expire.
"Any unintentional deviations from this policy that are brought to the company's attention are quickly rectified for customers," DeAngelis said. "The California agreement commits CVS to further strengthen its current product removal and monitoring practices with additional training for retail employees and managers, in-store notices reminding customers to check expiration dates and offering discount coupons to customers who notify store personnel if they discover certain expired products."
DeAngelis noted CVS is unaware of anyone falling ill due to the consumption of expired products sold in the stores.
Agreed to by California and CVS, CVS must do the following:
- Stop the sale of expired products in CVS Pharmacy and Longs Drug stores in California;
- Give consumers who find an expired item on store shelves a $2 coupon which can be used in any future purchase at a CVS Store in California for any product;
- Require employees to check at least twice a month that sell-by dates have not passed on infant formula, baby food, eggs, dairy products and over-the-counter medications;
- Establish a toll-free number to report expired products.