ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert on several categories of FDA-regulated products purchased from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present from 404 Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The products may be unsafe for consumers to use, in part because of a rodent infestation at a distribution facility.
The affected products originated from the company’s distribution plant in West Memphis, Arkansas, where an FDA inspection found unsanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation, that could cause many of the products to become contaminated.
Rodent contamination may cause salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.
Family Dollar, whose parent company is Dollar Tree, is initiating a voluntary retail-level product recall on all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, dietary supplements and human and animal (pet) food products, according to a news release. The recall does not apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items. Here is a list of the 404 stores to which this recall applies. The recall does not apply to other store locations.
Family Dollar is notifying its affected stores by letter asking them to check their stock immediately and to quarantine and discontinue the sale of any affected product. Customers who may have bought any of the affected products may return them to the store of purchase. No receipt is needed.
Spurred by a consumer complaint, the FDA began investigating the Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis in January 2022. Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival onsite, and the inspection concluded on Feb. 11.
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.
More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January 2022. Additionally, a review of the company’s internal records also indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between Mar. 29 and Sep. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation, according to the FDA.
Keeping facilities clean and safe is a basic business practice. For convenience retailers, NACS offers a series of e-learning modules from facility care to compliance issues to safety and security and foodservice via a partnership with Ready Training Online. To view the full library of online training resources, click here.