The Liability of Selling Expired Foods and Over the Counter Meds
New Haven, CT (Law Firm Newswire) February 1, 2011 - Product liability can encompass not only the product manufacturer, but also stores who sell their faulty or expired products. Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recently sued the CVS pharmacy chain for such an offense. Jerry Farrell Jr. from Consumer Protection Commissioner also joined the suit.
“CVS peddled potentially tainted food and ineffective medicine. Whether CVS was careless or heedless or overzealous for revenue, it betrayed its trust to consumers,” Blumenthal said.
An investigation in 2009 laid the premise to the lawsuit. The findings were that numerous stores throughout Connecticut were selling expired products, including over-the-counter medicine and food (such as infant formula, eggs, energy drinks and milk.) Distributers and manufacturers are not required to put dates on most products.
As recent as August 2010, CVS settled another lawsuit, this time filed by Pennsylvania State Attorney Tom Corbett.
It is up to each state to establish its own regulations and requirements with respect to the expiration of products. Connecticut requires foods and products to be dated but also requires that stores pull expired products off their shelves. CVS already paid $875,000 to the New York Attorney General to settle a similar lawsuit. In 2008, Rite Aid, another retail pharmacy giant, paid $650,000 to the New Jersey Attorney General for selling expired items.
“It is wise to check out all expiration dates before you purchase items. But if you find expired items still on the shelves, you have some options as a concerned consumer,” said Attorney Joel Faxon, from Connecticut’s Law Firm, Stratton Faxon.
Faxon suggests the manager of the store needs to be notified about the expired goods. Customers should proceed to contact the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection Agency, and file a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration and his or her state’s attorney general office. Keep tabs on the complaints and check the store to see if they still are selling expired items and report it again to the manager.
Finding a lawyer is the best way to proceed when customers suspect an expired medication or food may have injured them. They should keep track of what they have spent and keep the receipt and the product’s container.
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