After fumigating a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, inspectors found more than 1,100 dead rodents.
WASHINGTON — Some items sold at Family Dollar stores in six states may be contaminated from unsanitary conditions found at an Arkansas distribution facility, FDA officials have warned after an inspection found a rodent infestation and other issues that may have affected the products.
The United States Food and Drug Administration urges caution regarding all items purchased since January 1, 2021 from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee .
A consumer complaint prompted officials to inspect the West Memphis, Arkansas facility in January, the FDA said in a press release. Inside the building, inspectors said they found live rodents, dead rodents in “various states of decomposition”, rodent droppings, dead birds and bird droppings.
After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered, officials said.
The FDA said it was working with Family Dollar to initiate a voluntary recall of the affected products.
These products include human food, pet food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices and over-the-counter drugs purchased in January or February from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas , Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee.
According to the FDA, the facility ceased distribution a few days after the inspection team arrived, and the inspection continued until February 11.
In a press release, Family Dollar listed the 404 stores that may have sold products from the contaminated facility.
The company said it “is not aware of any consumer complaints or illness reports related to this recall.”
Records reviewed by the FDA team showed more than 2,300 additional rodents were found at the facility between March and September 2021, indicating the infestation had been a known problem for more than a year.
“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for things like food and medicine. They deserve safe products,” senior FDA official Judith McMeekin said in a statement. “No one should be subjected to products stored under the kind of unacceptable conditions we found at this Family Dollar distribution facility. These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could endanger the health of families. We We will continue to work to protect consumers.
The FDA has told customers not to use potentially affected products and to discard all unused items, regardless of packaging.
Foods in non-permeable packaging such as glass bottles or undamaged metal cans may be safe to eat as long as they are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Customers are also advised to wash their hands immediately after handling any merchandise purchased from Family Dollar in the six affected states.
Contamination by rodents can cause salmonella and infectious diseases. The risk of disease is higher in infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone who is immunocompromised.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.