CVS, Rite Aid: Are sales of expired food and drugs a crisis or a stupid mistake?

On Tuesday, CVS (CVS) drugstores agreed to pay the State of New York $875,000 to settle a case alleging that it sold expired food, over-the-counter drugs, and infant formula. This settlement follows a $1.3 million settlement between New York State and Rite Aid (RAD), suggesting that this crop of expired-product sales may be just the tip of the iceberg.

This isn't the first time CVS has been cited by New York's attorney general for selling expired items. In 2003, the chain handled the problem by signing an "Assurance of Discontinuance," stating that it would "refrain from selling expired OTC drugs" and would institute "procedures to ensure that OTC drugs were identified and removed from CVS stores and directing and training employees involved in stocking of OTC drugs in these procedures."