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Dollar Store Recall Hits Six States

Hundreds of Family Dollar locations sold goods potentially contaminated by rodents

A Family Dollar Store in Modesto California USA
John Crowe / Alamy Stock Photo

Family Dollar Stores Inc. recalled numerous products that were sold at more than 400 of its stores since the beginning of 2021 after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection uncovered unsanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation, at one of its distribution centers.

Rodent contamination can cause salmonella infections and other infectious diseases, which pose greater risk to older adults and those who are immunocompromised, as well as infants, children and pregnant women, the FDA warned.

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A consumer complaint prompted the FDA’s inspection of a Family Dollar distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, that supplies stores in six states.

“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 said in a Feb. 18 alert “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 Mar. 29 and Sep. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation.”​

Recalled Family Dollar products ​

The potentially tainted products included in the voluntary recall were shipped from the distribution center from Jan. 1, 2021, until February 2022.

The 404 stores that sold the recalled goods are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. See the full list of locations here. Family Dollar, owned by Dollar Tree Inc., operates about 8,000 stores nationwide.​

Products affected by the recall include:​

  • Medications: Pain medication, eye drops, dental products, antacids​
  • Medical supplies: Surgical masks, contact lens solutions, nasal care, bandages, feminine hygiene​
  • Cosmetics: Skin-care products, baby oil, lipstick, shampoo, baby wipes​
  • Dietary supplements: Vitamins, herbal and mineral supplements​
  • Food
  • Pet food: Kibble, treats, birdseed​​
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Items shipped directly to stores from manufacturers, such as frozen or refrigerated products, are not affected by the recall. ​​Family Dollar temporarily closed impacted stores to check their stock and discontinue the sale of any affected products. The company said it’s not aware of any illnesses related to the recall.​​

Advice to consumers ​​

The FDA is advising consumers who purchased potentially contaminated Family Dollar products not to use them and to discard all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements, regardless of packaging. Canned and jarred foods, as well as other foods in non-permeable packaging, may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Hands should be washed immediately after handling any affected products.

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Shoppers with questions about the recall can contact Family Dollar Customer Service at 844-636-7687 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET. The company said anyone who may have bought a recalled item may return it to where it was purchased without a receipt.

Anyone experiencing problems related to using recalled products is advised to contact their health care provider. Pet owners should contact their veterinarians.

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,” said FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin. “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility.”

Negative reactions or quality issues resulting from use of the recalled products may also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting  program in the following ways:​​

  • Complete and submit a report online.​​
  • Regular mail or fax: Download this form or call 800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the preaddressed form, or submit by fax to 800-332-0178.​​
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Hazards of rodent contamination ​

Rodent-contaminated products may carry salmonella, a bacterium that can give humans an intestinal infection that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. In severe cases, the infection can spread from the intestines. Symptoms usually begin six hours to six days after infection and last up to seven days. But in some instances, symptoms appear weeks after infection or symptoms persist for weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Infections are diagnosed with a lab test. Although most people can recover without antibiotics, an antibiotic is recommended for anyone with a severe illness. Antibiotics also are recommended for infected adults over age 65 (or over 50 if an underlying condition such as heart disease is present), infants and those with weakened immune systems.​​ Additionally, there are many other diseases that can be spread through contact with or inhaling rodent droppings or dust contaminated with rodent droppings.

This story was updated to correct the name of the parent company of Family Dollar. It’s Dollar Tree Inc.

Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.

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