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FDA issues warning against some products from Family Dollar stores after thousands of dead rodents found

The FDA is warning consumers in several states to throw out products in a number of categories, including human food, because of a severe rodent infestation in a distribution facility in Arkansas.

The implicated states are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. No recalls have been initiated for the products, but the Food and Drug Administration is working with the company to initiate a recall of the affected products.

“More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January 2022. Additionally, a review of the company’s internal records also indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between March 29 and Sept. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation,” according to the FDA’s public warning.

This alert covers FDA-regulated products purchased from Family Dollar stores in those six states from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present. Some examples of these products include human foods, including dietary supplements, vitamin, herbal and mineral supplements; cosmetics skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos, baby wipes; animal foods such as pet food, pet treats, wild bird seed; medical devices including feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages, 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.

Impacted products originated from the company’s distribution facility in West Memphis, AR.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA began an investigation of the Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, AR, according to the FDA warning. In January 2022. Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival on-site and the inspection that concluded on Feb. 11.

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 did not protect against contamination.

The FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, Pharm.D., said: “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.”

Consumers are advised not to use impacted products. 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 cans that are all metal, 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.

Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products. Rodent contamination may cause Salmonella infections and other infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA began an investigation of the Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, in January 2022. 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 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. 

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