The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently discovered a rodent infestation at a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, which led to the temporary closure of over 400 stores in multiple states.
The inspection at the West Memphis, Arkansas, facility began in January after the FDA received a consumer complaint, the agency said in a February 18 release. Products purchased from January 1, 2021, through at least February 18, 2022, at “Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee may be unsafe for consumers to use,” the FDA stated.
The FDA’s report detailed the conditions of the facility:
Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.
The FDA noted that distribution ceased within days of the agency arriving at the facility and that over 1,100 dead rodents were recovered following fumigation. It notes that a review of Family Dollar’s internal records revealed upwards of 2,300 additional rodents were recovered between March 29 – September 17, 2021, “demonstrating a history of infestation.”
The alert covers numerous categories of products, according to the report:
Some examples of these products include human foods (including dietary supplements (vitamin, herbal and mineral supplements)), cosmetics (skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos, baby wipes), animal foods (kibble, pet treats, wild bird seed), medical devices (feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages, nasal care products) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications (pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, other medications for both adults and children).
Consumers are advised not to use and to contact the company regarding impacted products. The agency is also advising that all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements, regardless of packaging, be discarded. Food in non-permeable packaging (such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans) may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Consumers should wash their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores.
“No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility,” said Judith McMeekin, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk.”
In the FDA release, Family Dollar announced a voluntary recall of impacted products at 404 stores. All of those stores were temporarily closed, WMC reports. A report from Family Dollar’s parent company, Dollar Tree, states the recall has cost the company $34.1 million.
“To date, Family Dollar is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall,” the company said last month in their February 28 recall announcement.