General Merchandise/HBC

Family Dollar Shutters 400 Stores After Recall

Temporary closures follow FDA alert over rat infestation at distribution facility
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Discount retailer Family Dollar Inc. has temporarily closed more than 400 stores and initiated a recall of certain products after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted the public on Feb. 18 that several categories of products purchased from its stores in several states may be unsafe for consumers to use. The affected products originated from the company’s distribution facility in West Memphis, Ark., where an FDA inspection found unsanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation, that could cause many of the products to become contaminated.

The dollar-store chain said on Feb. 19 that it had closed the stores temporarily, reported the New York Times.

We take situations like this very seriously and are committed to providing safe and quality products to our customers, a Family Dollar spokesperson said in a statement provided to CSP Daily News. We have been fully cooperating with all regulatory agencies in the resolution of this matter and are in the process of remediating the issue. We temporarily closed the affected stores in order to proficiently conduct the voluntary recall of certain FDA-regulated products.  Our teams are working hard to reopen these stores as soon as possible.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA began an investigation of the Family Dollar distribution facility in January 2022, the agency said. 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 the FDA 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. Inspectors recovered more than 1,100 dead rodents from the facility following a fumigation 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.

Family Dollar has initiated a voluntary retail-level product recall of certain products that were stored and shipped to 404 stores from the West Memphis distribution center from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

The FDA-regulated products covered by the recall are human foods including vitamin, herbal and mineral dietary supplements; cosmetics including skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos and baby wipes; animal foo including kibble, pet treats and wild bird seed; medical devices including feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages and nasal care products; and over-the-counter (OTC) medications including pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids and other medications for both adults and children. 

The recall does not apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items.

Click here to view the complete list of stores. The recall does not apply to other store locations, the company said.

Family Dollar is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall, it said.

The retailer said it is notifying affected stores by letter asking them to check their stock immediately and to quarantine and discontinue the sale of any affected product, and the company directed customers who may have bought affected products to return the products to the Family Dollar store where they were purchased without receipt; however, the FDA has advised consumers not to use the products and to discard them unless they are in non-permeable packaging such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans, which may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned sanitized. The agency also said that consumers should wash their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores. It said they should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling the products. Rodent infestation may cause Salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people, it said.

Family Dollar, with approximately 8,000 stores in 48 states, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dollar Tree Inc., Chesapeake, Va. As of Oct. 30, 2021, Dollar Tree had 15,966 Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree Canada stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces.

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