In February, a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas made headlines when thousands of live and deceased rats were found within the building.
Found scurrying around products that were sent to over 400 stores throughout the southern United States, the rats prompted a Food and Drug Administration investigation of the facility.
The company issued a voluntary recall on all products stored and shipped from its West Memphis building on February 18. Family Dollar said it issued the recall because the presence of rodents can cause Salmonella contamination.
All 404 stores were closed in order to be cleaned and restocked. They have since reopened, but the company has decided to close its West Memphis distribution center for good.
The 30-year-old center will be permanently closed, Family Dollar president and CEO Mike Witynski said on an earnings call last week.
"We are relocating stores to other DCs to fulfill the store deliveries and have sufficient capacity to serve all stores in our remaining fleet of distribution centers," Witynski said.
Consumers were shocked to learn that the discount chain was affected by such a rodent issue.
"More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation in January 2022," the FDA said in a press release.
Conditions observed during an FDA inspection of the plant included live and dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.
"Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine," FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin said in a statement earlier this year. "They deserve products that are safe. 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."
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