Rats overwhelm Family Dollar warehouse; 404 stores closed as part of recall

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Falcon Scallergrim
©Getty Images - Falcon Scallergrim

Related tags: rodent infestation, Gmps, Dietary supplement, Dietary supplements, Fda, recalls

Dietary supplements and other products purchased from Family Dollar stores in six states may be contaminated because of massive rodent infestation, FDA warned the public recently.

The US Food and Drug Administration said it is working with the company to carry through a voluntary recall of the affected products.  The company has responded by temporarily closing 404 stores in the affected states, presumably to allow for sanitizing after the affected products are removed from shelves.

The affected products came from a distribution facility in West Memphis, AR, and were sold in Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.  

Huge rat infestation

An inspection found unsafe conditions in the facility including a massive rodent infestation with reportedly more than 1,000 rodents found. FDA and the company said that could have led to many of the products becoming contaminated with Salmonella.

 Larisa Pavlick, vice president global regulatory and compliance for the United Natural Products Alliance, said during her time as an FDA inspector she didn’t recall a rodent infestation of that magnitude. 

“There are estimated to be one-third to two-thirds more rats behind the walls that you don’t see,”​ she said.

Foods, supplements, personal care products, others affected

FDA said the recall affects six categories of regulated products.  Those 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).  

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,”​ said Judith McMeekin, PharmD, FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.

 “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,”​ she added.

Company publishes list of affected SKUs

Family Dollar has put up a complete list of the affected SKUs​ via a news release.  The affected products were sold at the stores from Jan. 1 2022 through to the closure of stores several days ago. FDA warned consumers not to use the products and to throughly wash their hands after handling them.

Family Dollar said it has not had any reports of illness connected with the products.

While the closure of more than 400 stores seems like big news, Dollar Tree Inc., Family Dollar’s parent company, operates more than 15,000 stores the contiguous 48 states and in Canada.  The company reported more than $25 billion in revenue in its 2021 fiscal year. The news of the stores closure and recall has had little effect on the company’s stock price, which has hovered around $134 a share since the news broke.

Related topics: Regulation

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