Family Dollar Inc. has initiated a voluntary retail-level product recall of several categories of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated products that were stored and shipped to 404 stores in six states from the Family Dollar Distribution Center 202, in West Memphis, Ark., from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present, due to a rodent infestation at the distribution center. As an added precaution, Family Dollar has also temporarily closed affected retail stores, according to media reports.
The recall was sparked by a consumer complaint that led FDA to start an investigation at the Arkansas distribution facility in January 2022. 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 didn’t protect against contamination. More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January. 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. FDA concluded its investigation on Feb. 11.
There are numerous hazards associated with rodents, including the potential presence of Salmonella, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.As a result, products purchased at Family Dollar stores may be contaminated and unsafe for consumers to use.
“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. “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.”
The recall covers FDA-regulated products purchased from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Some examples of these products include human foods (including dietary supplements such as vitamin, herbal and mineral supplements); cosmetics (skin care 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 medications (pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, other medications for both adults and children). The recall doesn’t apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items.
Family Dollar has notified its affected stores by letter asking them to check their stock immediately and to quarantine and discontinue the sale of any affected product. Customers that may have bought affected product can return it to the Family Dollar store where it were purchased, without a receipt.
To date, Family Dollar isn’t aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to the recall.
Family Dollar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar Tree Inc., has approximately 8,000 stores in rural and urban settings across 48 states. Chesapeake, Va.-based Dollar Tree, which operates more than 15,700 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces, is No. 30 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.