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400-Plus Family Dollar Stores Close In Six States After Rodent Infestation Discovered; Recall Instituted

More than 400 Family Dollar locations in six states temporarily closed Sunday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered a large rodent infestation at one of the discount retailer’s distribution centers.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA searched the West Memphis, Arkansas distribution facility in January.

“Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival on-site and the inspection concluded on Feb. 11,” a press release from the FDA said. “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,” the FDA said. “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.”

Family Dollar locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee have been affected.

MassLive reported Monday that the retailer implemented a voluntary recall at the 406 affected stores, including all drug products; “medical devices; cosmetics; dietary supplements; and human and animal (pet) food products.”

“The recall does not apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items,” the report said, added that Family Dollar, to date, “said it is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall.”

“Consumers are advised not to use and to contact the company regarding impacted products,” the FDA said. “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.”

“Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products,” the press release added. “Rodent contamination may cause Salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.”

View the full FDA press release, below (emphasis by the FDA):

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public that several categories of FDA-regulated products purchased from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee may be unsafe for consumers to use. The impacted products originated from the company’s distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, where an FDA inspection found insanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation, that could cause many of the products to become contaminated. The FDA is working with the company to initiate a voluntary recall of the affected products.

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,” said Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, Pharm.D. “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility. These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk. We will continue to work to protect consumers.”

This alert covers FDA-regulated products purchased from Family Dollar stores in those six states from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present. 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.

Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products. Rodent contamination may cause Salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA began an investigation of the Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, in January 2022. Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival on-site 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.

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