CU: Protect consumers from unsafe and expired baby food


September 21, 2009
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: AB 1512 (Lieu) – Request for Signature
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, urges you to sign AB 1512 (Lieu) into law. We believe AB 1512 is a good, common sense measure that will protect consumers from unwittingly purchasing expired baby food, infant formula, and over-the-counter drugs.
The “use by” date serves an important function for consumers and retailers, by alerting them to foods that have passed the date the manufacturer has determined to be the optimal time period for the product to provide the highest levels of labeled nutrients and benefits. Likewise, expiration dates on over-the-counter drugs assure consumers that the medication they are purchasing will maintain its strength until that date.
There is no prohibition against retailers selling products after the manufacturer’s “use by” date, despite federal law requiring the labeling of these dates. Last year, California’s Attorney General investigated a large retail pharmacy chain and found repeated instances where these products were offered for sale as long as six months after the “use by” or expiration dates. In some cases, additional labeling was added to obscure the “use by” or expiration date on the packaging.
California’s consumers rely on expiration dates to ensure that they are purchasing the safest and most effective over-the-counter medicines, baby food and infant formula. AB 1512 will protect consumers by prohibiting retailers from selling products that have passed the “use by” dates. We ask that you sign AB 1512 into law.
Sincerely,
Elisa Odabashian, Director
West Coast Office
Consumers Union
cc: Assemblyman Ted Lieu