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Massive Rodent Infestation Prompts Closure of Family Dollar Stores, Product Recall

— February 18, 2022

About 404 Family Dollar stores are closing down temporarily after an FDA investigation uncovered a massive rodent infestation at an Arkansas warehouse.

More than 400 Family Dollar stores across six states are temporarily closing their doors in response to a rodent infestation at a company warehouse. As it turns out, a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas was infested with rats. In addition to the temporary store closures, the discount chain is also recalling a long list of products that may be contaminated due to the infestation. 

Rats; image courtesy of Simon via Pixabay,

The recall was announced earlier this month by Dollar Tree, the owner of Family Dollar. According to the company and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many of the recalled products include FDA-regulated products, like medicine, cosmetics, and pet food products. The affected products were sold in Family Dollar stores throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee from January 2021 to February 2022. 

The FDA first learned of the rat infestation in early February, and an investigation into the matter wrapped up on February 11. During the investigation, the agency found “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 at the center.” In total, more than 1,100 dead rodents were found and the center was fumigated. 

During the investigation, the FDA also took a peek at the company’s records and discovered a “history of infestation at the Arkansas facility.” Over a six-month span in 2021, more than 2,300 rodents were collected. 

At the moment, 404 stores have closed down as the company oversees the product recall. When commenting on the matter, Dollar Tree spokeswoman Kayleigh Campbell said:

“We take situations like this very seriously and are committed to providing safe and quality products to our customers… have been fully cooperating with all regulatory agencies in the resolution of this matter and are in the process of remediating the issue.”

Judith McMeekin, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, also chimed in and said customers “deserve products that are safe.” She added:

“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.”

Rodent infestations can pose serious health implications for humans because they can pass on diseases, such as salmonellosisSalmonellosis is an infection caused by salmonella bacteria and can be particularly dangerous to people with weak immune systems, the elderly, children, and pregnant women. Fortunately, the company has not received reports of consumers falling ill after handling the recalled products. A full list of recalled products can be found here.


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