Family Dollar closes 404 stores and issues recalls following rat infestation

Family Dollar store
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Discount retailer Family Dollar is temporarily closing more than 400 of its stores after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report described a company warehouse littered with rodents and their feces.

The report, released Friday, detailed a grisly scene: More than 1,000 dead rats, along with droppings, urine and dead birds, scattered throughout a Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The warehouse stored a variety of products, including food, cosmetics, pet food and medical products like eye drops, antacids and pain medications. Items from the warehouse were shipped to Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.


The FDA said they’re working with Family Dollar to voluntarily recall the affected products, which were sold at Family Dollar stores beginning in January 2021.

“No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility,” said Judith McMeekin, the FDA’s associate commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, in a press release.

“These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk. We will continue to work to protect consumers,” McMeekin said.

Memphis TV station Fox13 shared footage from inside the warehouse, recorded by a former employee. It shows rats crawling over products, climbing up storage racks and fighting with each other. Some rats are dead and left laying where they fell.

Rodent contamination can spread disease, including the bacteria Salmonella. Infections like these may be especially dangerous for babies and children, as well as pregnant, elderly and immunocompromised people.

The FDA said that a review of company records revealed the infestation was as an ongoing problem, with over 2,000 animals removed from March to September of 2021.

Click here for a full list of the 404 affected stores and products. If you think you purchased a recalled item, you can call Family Dollar Customer Service at 844-636-7687 for more information. Return recalled products to the location where they were purchased, no receipt needed.

About the Author

Kathleen St. John

Kathleen was born in Iowa, but has spent most of her life in Colorado - with stints in Chicago, New York and Wyoming for variety. She’s written about things like music, food, nightlife, medical news, motorcycles, animals, bargain shopping, strip clubs and plants for publications like The Denver Post, Esquire, The A.V. Club, and Scripps' Simplemost and Don't Waste Your Money. More.

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