© 2024 WMKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Family Dollar is fined over $40 million due to a rodent infestation in its warehouse

The Family Dollar logo is centered above one of its variety stores in Canton, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. More than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 as the chain issued a voluntary recall affecting items purchased from hundreds of stores in the South.
Rogelio V. Solis
/
AP
The Family Dollar logo is centered above one of its variety stores in Canton, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. More than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 as the chain issued a voluntary recall affecting items purchased from hundreds of stores in the South.

Family Dollar has pleaded guilty to operating a warehouse infested with rodents and has been fined nearly $42 million, the biggest criminal penalty in a food safety case, the Department of Justice said Monday.

More than 1,200 rodents were exterminated once the warehouse was fumigated, following an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration in January 2022, in which it found rodents both dead and alive, and rodent feces and urine.

Family Dollar, a branch of Dollar Tree, Inc., was charged with one misdemeanor count of causing FDA-regulated products to become adulterated while being held under insanitary conditions.

"When I joined Dollar Tree's Board of Directors in March 2022, I was very disappointed to learn about these unacceptable issues at one of Family Dollar's facilities," Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling said. "Since that time and even more directly when I assumed the role of CEO, we have worked diligently to help Family Dollar resolve this historical matter and significantly enhance our policies, procedures, and physical facilities to ensure it is not repeated."

The company first began receiving reports in August 2020 about mice and pests, and products damaged from rodents, being in deliveries from the Arkansas warehouse. The facility services more than 400 stores in Arkansas, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Though, goods were still being shipped from there until January 2022.

In February 2022, the company voluntarily recalled "all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and human and animal food products" after the FDA inspection, the Justice Department said.

Family Dollar and Dollar Tree will additionally have to follow vigorous reporting and compliance protocols, it added.

"When consumers go to the store, they have the right to expect that the food and drugs on the shelves have been kept in clean, uncontaminated conditions," Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer said. "When companies violate that trust and the laws designed to keep consumers safe, the public should rest assured: The Justice Department will hold those companies accountable."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie