Family Dollar Ordered to Pay $42 Million for Shipping Food from Rat-Infested Warehouse to Stores

Credits: Label C

Family Dollar Stores, a subsidiary of Dollar Tree, has agreed to pay a nearly $42 million fine after pleading guilty to storing consumer products, including food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices, in a rat-infested warehouse.

The Department of Justice announced this settlement, which represents the largest-ever monetary criminal penalty in a food safety case. The filthy conditions at the distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, led to products becoming contaminated.

Despite reports of mouse and pest issues with deliveries starting in August 2020, the facility continued shipping products until January 2022, when an FDA inspection revealed live rodents, dead rodents, rodent feces, urine, and odors throughout the facility.

Rat-Infested Warehouse (Credits: Daily Mail)

The company admitted that some employees were aware of the insanitary conditions causing contamination by January 2021. Following the FDA inspection, nearly 1,300 rodents were exterminated, and a massive recall of products sold by 404 stores serviced by the warehouse was launched on Feb. 18, 2022.

The CEO of Dollar Tree, Rick Dreiling, expressed disappointment and stated that since learning about the issues, they have worked diligently to help Family Dollar resolve the matter and enhance policies, procedures, and physical facilities to prevent a recurrence.

This incident is not the first for Family Dollar, as they had previously recalled hundreds of consumer products stored improperly in October and certain Advil products stored at the wrong temperature in May. Family Dollar operates 16,622 stores across 48 states and five Canadian provinces.

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