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Urgent dollar store recall issued after 1,100 dead rodents were found

Published Feb 21st, 2022 10:19AM EST
a shopper pushes a cart down a grocery aisle
Image: Piman Khrutmuang/Adobe

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Family Dollar announced a massive recall involving all sorts of products sold at its stores in six states. The recall follows a consumer complaint that triggered an FDA investigation of a distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, in January 2022. The agency discovered a massive rat infestation at the facility, recovering more than 1,100 dead rodents after fumigating the warehouse. Moreover, a review of company records showed the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between March 29th and September 17th, 2021.

Rodent contamination can lead to Salmonella and other infections in humans from products that the animals might have touched. That’s why Family Dollar issued a recall for a wide variety of products sold at its stores in six states.

Family Dollar recall

The company announced the recall on February 18th. Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health alert on the same day. The FDA announcement provides more information about the Family Dollar recall, including the results of the January 2022 investigation.

The company says the recall concerns products that were stored and shipped to 404 stores from the Family Dollar Distribution Center 202 in West Memphis from January 1st, 2021, through the present day. The list of 404 affected stores is available as an attachment in the company’s press release.

Also, the FDA alert specifies the states where products from Distribution Center 202 were sold. Family Dollar store shoppers in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee absolutely must read through the details of this recall.

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,” Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, Pharm.D., said in a statement. “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.”

The recalled Family Dollar products

Family Dollar mentioned the product categories that are part of the recall, and you should pay close attention. The list includes “all: (i) drugs; (ii) medical devices; (iii) cosmetics; (iv) dietary supplements; and (v) human and animal (pet) food products.”

However, “the recall does not apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items,” the company said.

Additionally, the FDA provides more details on the type of Family Dollar products that are part of the recall:

  • 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)
  • over-the-counter (OTC) medications (pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, other medications for both adults and children)
Shopping cart view fn a supermarket aisle and shelves
Shopping cart view in a supermarket aisle and shelves. Image source: Ruslan Gilmanshin/Adobe

Salmonella infection

Salmonella is an infectious disease that might occur from contact with products touched by rodents. But Family Dollar says in the announcement that it has not received any reports of illness to date.

Of course, the risk of salmonellosis is still present, as customers likely have plenty of contaminated products from the Family Dollar recall. The bacteria can cause life-threatening illnesses in some groups of people, including infants, young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women, people suffering from other medical conditions, and people with weakened immune systems.

Also, the company explains that healthy people might experience fever, diarrhea that may be bloody, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Additionally, in rare circumstances, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and lead to severe illness, including arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.

What you should do

Family Dollar instructs customers to return the affected products to stores, even without receipts.

Furthermore, the FDA says in the recall alert that shoppers should not use products and contact Family Dollar about the products in the recall:

The agency is also advising that all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements, regardless of packaging, be discarded. Food in non-permeable packaging (such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans) may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Consumers should wash their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores.

People who have health concerns after buying and using products from Family Dollar should consider contacting a doctor.

If you shop there, you should read through the official Food Dollar recall press releases (FDA and Business Wire). Also, check the full FDA alert. You’ll find contact information for the company and the agency in the announcements.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.