The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about potentially contaminated food, lipstick and other products from Family Dollar stores in six southern states following a major rodent infestation at one of its distribution centers.
Live rodents, dead rodents in "various stages of decay," rodent feces and urine, "evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors," dead birds and bird droppings were found inside a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas during an inspection January, according to the FDA.
More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the Arkansas distribution center following a fumigation around that time, according to the agency. There is evidence this has been a persisting issue at the facility for far longer, the FDA said.
A review of the company's internal records showed more than 2,300 rodents were collected between March 29 and Sept. 17, 2021, according to the FDA.
"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," Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, Judith McMeekin, said in a statement.
Rodent contamination may cause salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people, the FDA said.
The FDA said products that originated from the distribution center were sold in over 400 Family Dollar stores in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
The products include "human foods (including dietary supplements (vitamin, herbal and mineral supplements), cosmetics (skin care products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos, baby wipes), animal foods (kibble, pet treats, wild bird seed), medical devices (feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages, nasal care products) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications (pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, other medications for both adults and children)."
Consumers are urged to not use any of these products if they were purchased after Jan. 1, 2021, and to contact the company regarding impacted products.
The FDA said it is working with Family Dollar to create a recall list and a website for more information.