For Immediate Release: October 11th, 2011
Gov. Brown Signs Consumer Federation-Sponsored AB 688 (Pan)
“We applaud Governor Jerry Brown for signing an important food and drug safety bill, AB 688, by Assemblyman Richard Pan. This common sense law will protect the most vulnerable Californians - the very young and the ill,” stated Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California, sponsor of AB 688.
AB 688 bans the retail sale of infant formula, baby food and over-the-counter medication. The law is designed to fill a gap in existing regulation. Federal law requires expiration dates on labels of these products as the manufacturer’s guarantee of the product’s safety and effectiveness. However, until AB 688 was enacted, no law prohibited supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers from selling these expired products.
Federal requirements for expiration dates serve a public health purpose. Formula that has passed its "use by" health date may lose its nutritional value or clog the nipple of a baby bottle. Health effects may include inadequate consumption of ingredients that promote an infant’s brain and eye development. Expired medications may lose their potency, resulting in ill and elderly persons getting less than a proper dosage.
AB 688 makes California a national leader in prohibiting the sale of these expired products.
State and local health departments, the Attorney General, local district attorneys and other agencies of local government are empowered to enforce AB 688. Fines are ten dollars per day per expired product sold or offered for sale, with additional penalties that may be assessed at the same rate of ten dollars per day per product sold or offered for sale.
The Consumer Federation of California is a non-profit organization that has worked for better consumer protections since 1960.
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