NY AG Will Take Legal Action Against CVS & Rite Aid For Selling Expired Milk, Baby Formula

Back in March, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office started an undercover investigation into all major drug store chains in New York State. The AG’s Office uncovered what they describe as an “egregious” pattern of selling expired products at two chains, Rite Aid ad CVS.

The AG says:

…the Attorney General’s investigation has so far uncovered that 142 CVS and 112 Rite Aid stores in over 41 counties sold expired products. This reflects 60 percent of the CVS stores visited and 43 percent of the Rite Aid stores visited.

At these locations, undercover investigators were able to purchase more than 600 expired products, including milk, eggs, medicines and baby formula. Several of the expired products were over one-year-old.

Cuomo’s office has announced that they intend to commence with litigation against both chains.

“My ongoing investigation has uncovered a shameful disregard for public health in these stores,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Families across New York State buy products from these establishments assuming that they’re coming from a safe, reputable source. However, when the products pass their expiration dates, they become ineffective and potentially unsafe, threatening to put our loved ones at risk. These companies allowed personal profit to get ahead of their customers’ health. I am committed to protecting New York consumers and we will continue to investigate this troubling practice.”

In addition to publishing two letters sent to Rite Aid and CVS, the AG’s office also published the results of their investigation. You can check it out here (PDF).

(Photo: Danquella Manera )


Edit Your Comment

  1. rmz says:

    Over a one-year-old? That sounds dangerous, they could have fallen onto that baby.

  2. One year old egg = ninty nine before it is a delicacy.

  3. spinachdip says:

    @rmz: The NYS AG’s office doesn’t have an AP Style Guide book, apparently.

    I personally would’ve gone with “a year old” to avoid any confusion/awkwardness.

  4. bohemian says:

    Are there actual laws in most states about selling expired products?

  5. audiochick says:


    And one year old milk = one gallon of cheese.

  6. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Is CVS taking it seriously yet?

    Not that the whole thing isn’t uber-nasty, but aren’t some (maybe most?) expiration dates not so much laws as educated gueses by the food companies? Except for things like baby formula, I think they are.

    [www.businessweek.com] seems to say this is so.

  7. jonworld says:

    Eww…one year old!!!??? Imagine if that was milk. This reminds of the time during my freshman year in high school when the cafeteria staff left the whole milk fridge unplugged through the weekend. Within 10 minutes of the beginning of the first lunch period, they sold hundreds of spoiled, disgusting milks that sent some people home with food poisoning…and not only did they lack replacement non-spoiled milk but they didn’t cooperate in refunding our money either.

  8. Dobernala says:

    Reminds me of this dollar store that had batches of individually packaged sliced cheese sitting, unrefrigerated, on their shelves. It was black and brown. Gross!

  9. planet2334 says:

    I’ve noticed that I have to be careful with buying milk there and watching expiration dates, but wow, I didn’t realize it was state-wide. I thought it was just our one Rite Aid down the street that was clueless.

    I’m glad someone was putting together the big picture. Strange how big companies think they’ll make money when really they’ll lose so much from lawsuits and legal charges.

  10. MBZ321 says:

    Since CVS and Rite Aid aren’t grocery stores, it doesn’t surprise me that they found expired product, but over a year old? That is ridiculous.

  11. jusooho says:

    One time I bought expired St Johns Wort from CVS. When I brought it back the boy behind the counter initially refused to take it back because the seal was open. When he got the manager, she said “You should have checked it before you bought it” and said she’d “do me a favor” and swap out two bottles for my one expired. They refused to give me money back.

    Of course, I told her that isn’t ok, and left the bottle there. After mailing corporate they sent a gift card, which I gave to co-worker.

    Anyway, so its not surprising to see this story here.

  12. Yummy.

    Finally an AG with enough balls to actually enforce consumer protection laws.

  13. B says:

    So, three years from now, are we going to find out Andrew Cuomo has an expired milk fetish? I’m intrigued.

  14. B says:

    @valarmorghulis: and 1 year old milk = cheese.

  15. sleze69 says:

    I wish my AG would grab headlines with things like this. Even if it doesn’t pan out (like NYs passenger bill of rights), it would make me feel like my AG is doing something for ME.

  16. nyaz says:

    Dude needs to be on the FCTC(Futures commodity trade commision)(I think that is what it’s called)

  17. RetailGuy83 says:

    Never assume malicious intent when incompetancy explains the problem just as well.

    That said, umm… yuck.

  18. dumblonde says:

    I think I have a lawyer crush on NY’s Attorney General.

  19. camille_javal says:

    I find it hard to take a “Consumer” website that can’t bother to spell in it’s headlines (exempting the comments.)

    ah, hell, I’m in a bad mood, I’ll be the snarky one – seriously? Are you one of those po-mo performance artist irony-types? if so, then slow-clap for you – bravo.

  20. camille_javal says:

    on topic – a few years ago I was at a Rite Aid in New Jersey, and I noticed that the box of Tylenol I’d picked up was expired – by over a year. Then I noticed that at least five boxes on the shelf were expired. I gathered them up and took them to the pharmacy counter.

    The pharmacist looked at me like I was a loon, which, I don’t know, he may have had a point. I get a little Dudley Do-Right about some random shit.

  21. mikelotus says:

    Cuomo, picking up the reigns from Spritzer quite well. Let’s hope when he runs for governor that he is a good boy.

  22. @RetailGuy83:

    “Never assume malicious intent when incompetancy explains the problem just as well.”

    Incompetancy explains most of these issues. I doubt the AG will ever find a corporate memo that states the stores are to intentionally sell expired products.

  23. ChuckECheese says:

    Now where will I go in Canandaigua for my chunky Enfanmil?

  24. azntg says:

    Of course, it’s a systemic incompetancy.

    In any case, this is one of the few times I’m glad that the authorities are willing to do for “show,” if nothing else. Hopefully, it’ll encourage them to get their act together and solve their problems or at least get attention for the right reasons.

    Of course, to contrast the other kind of “show” that I dislike, it’ll be the “security show” that the TSA is pulling off.

  25. psychos says:

    Perhaps you meant “its headlines.” And you find it hard to take the website…what? I assume you meant to say that you find it hard to take the website seriously, since you failed to qualify what you found hard to take about the website.

    Don’t bitch about spelling when your own English skills are seriously lacking. I only bitch to mock you.

  26. Novaload says:

    @aquaregia: “It’s” = “It is” but “Its” = Its/Its own. Hoist on your own petard, I believe.

  27. edrebber says:

    Expiration dates are a scam to get you to buy more.

  28. zentex says:

    @aquaregia: what everyone else said…

  29. jackal676 says:

    Sorry to gang up on you, but you should really close your parentheses before ending a sentence. And there’s no reason for you to have capped the “C” in a “Consumer” website. I’ll agree that spelling and grammar errors do undermine authority and professionalism (how many can you find in an average copy of the New York Times?), but typo sniping is horrendously irritating and just serves to expose your own inflated ego. How about just dropping the author/editor an email?

  30. Angryrider says:

    Hmm…Either the 99cent store or the pharmacy for my milk…
    Desperate times calls for desperate measures eh?

  31. milk says:

    @shake1dde: Anyone with dignity.

  32. pearfreak says:

    I worked at Rite Aid for several years. I was always checking expiration dates. You would not believe how many carts of expired items I would fine between GNC, baby formula, face creams, toothpaste, etc. The most horrifying was expired condoms.

  33. chrisjames says:

    Please do not enforce adherence to expiration dates. Please! Don’t give the companies any more power over us by letting them get products pulled off shelves by law on an arbitrary date that they get to set. Enforcing a printed date is enough consumer protection.

  34. bravo369 says:

    they should also take legal action and have any pharmacists who refuse to sell plan B fired. I bring that up because it seems like all stories about that involve a CVS or RiteAid.

  35. MPHinPgh says:

    @camille_javal: Snarky works for you very nicely. You gave me the first chuckle of the morning. Keep up the good work.

  36. BearTack says:

    This is just a big show to divert attention from Cuomo’s latest major screwup assisting three of the most hated companies to agree to massive censorship of thousands of user groups, and to allow them to reduce services to their customers.

    Cuomo has collaborated with Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to limit or eliminate Usenet access by these ISPs in the name of protecting the world from child porn.

    Usenet is composed of some 100,000 reader groups covering topics from advanced mathematics, genome research, cooking, woodworking, consumer groups, and just about any topic that two or more people would find interesting. Some 88 groups have reputedly had illegal material at one time or another. Rather than eliminate the 88 groups, Cuomo has prevailed upon above to censor Usenet. Time Warner plans to eliminate Usenet access altogether. Sprint and Verizon plan on cutting massive swaths of Usenet structure.

    With this as an example, it is likely that other ISPs will follow.

    No rational person wants child porn on the net, but no rational person thinks that the solution to an admittedly tiny problem means eliminating an incredibly useful information exchange for academics, managers, librarians, hobbyists and others who would have great difficulties in finding alternate means of communication.

    Another sad worst part of this is that it can not work. The damn perverts will just go elsewhere where they will be harder to locate and take down.


  37. theblackdog says:

    @mikelotus: His escorts are 5 whore diamonds instead of 4 whore diamonds ;-)

  38. csdiego says:

    You can take complaints like that to your attorney general, seriously? The CVS near my work has more expired milk than fresh in its refrigerator case on any given day. They load the fresher milk in from the back so the expired cartons will sell first. But then again, the attorney general in my state is not a crusading celebrity, so…

  39. csdiego says:

    Seriously, you can take expired milk to the attorney general to investigate? The CVS near my office has more expired milk than fresh in its refrigerated case. They load the fresh milk from the back so the expired cartons will sell first. And when I have bought milk that supposedly has a few days to go, it goes off well before the sell-by date, so somebody isn’t handling it properly along the way. Maybe I’ll have to drop a dime on them. Then again, the attorney general in the state where I work isn’t a crusading celebrity, so maybe it will take some time.

  40. csdiego says:

    Oops, I thought my first post hadn’t gone through so I did it again.

  41. NotATool says:

    Well, I hope they got all the expired Pepsi off the shelf too. Seriously, how could something like Pepsi expire?

  42. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @BearTack: No rational person wants child porn on the net, but no rational person thinks that the solution to an admittedly tiny problem means eliminating an incredibly useful information exchange for academics, managers, librarians, hobbyists and others who would have great difficulties in finding alternate means of communication.

    Clearly, Cuomo had trouble seeing the forest because of all the trees that were in the way, so when he threw out the bathwater, he didn’t notice the baby going with it.

  43. RichardSS says:

    @NotATool: If vendor items like soda, beer, milk, or potato chips are expired, although the store is ultimately responsible, the fault falls on the vendor company that sells those items to the store and merchandises them. For instance, a Pepsi sales rep would come into any given store, create an order, check for outdates and pull any outdates off the sales floor and issue a credit to the store.

    Then when the order is delivered, the delivery guy will merchandise the new items, properly rotating the existing items to the front of the self and placing the new items in the back, and taking the credited outdated merchandise when he leaves.

  44. peter_in_paris says:

    @aquaregia: I, too, have noticed a lot of spelling errors on this site lately. If no one else cares, fine. But I’m assuming this site has a very high readership and I would be embarrassed to post articles that haven’t at least been spell checked. I am surrounded by people at work who constantly have typos in their emails and reports and, while it can happen to anyone from time to time, I find it to be lazy and unprofessional. In the end, however, I find that most people just don’t care about attention to detail.

  45. PinkBox says:

    I recently bought some eye drops from CVS, and didn’t notice until I got home that they expired in early 2007.

    Unfortunately I’d already used them by that point. :P

  46. picardia says:

    @chrisjames: What are you talking about? Seriously, how is enforcing an expiration date giving the company more power? (Maybe more power over the chains, but not over the consumer. And if the chains are willing to sell baby formula more than a year after it’s not safe to be consumed, that seems like a pretty good anti-chain argument. I check dates, but if I saw that some formula was good through “July 7,” I’m not sure I’d catch that it meant “July 7, 2007.”)

  47. mrearly2 says:

    They shouldn’t be selling that processed garbage, in the first place.

  48. itrek says:

    Not sure about Pepsi made with sugar but Diet Pepsi or any product made with the artificial sweeteners definitely expires and tastes awful when it gets too old.