New FDA report reveals more about conditions inside Family Dollar warehouse

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:52 PM CST
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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - A newly obtained report shows Family Dollar officials were aware of an increased presence of rodents in the West Memphis distribution center since at least January 2020.

Documents show employees had to stop using the breakroom due to the extremely strong odor and live rodents.

While the rodent infestation was the major culprit, the violations extended further than that, including the medications purchased to get well might have made you sick.

Action News 5 received a 22-page detailed report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through a Freedom of Information request about what its investigators observed at the Family Dollar warehouse starting Jan. 11 of this year.

The biggest issue was rats both live and dead as well as nests and rat droppings.

According to pest control reports from March of last year until January of this year, they captured over 3,200 rats. The proximity of the rodents to food was also observed.

For example, investigators found multiple bags of mixed nuts with a best by date of September 2020 gnawed open, presumably by rodents.

Investigators saw multiple rats climbing up scaffolding and going through a pallet containing potato chips.

Individual Family Dollar stores in January reported receiving products with rodent droppings, gnawed-through items, even a live rat in a pallet.

Family Dollar instituted a widespread recall of FDA-regulated products. However, infectious disease expert, Dr. Steve Threlkled, doesn’t expect widespread contamination.

“The reality is that rat infestation or contamination in a developed country like the United States seldom turns out into much of an outbreak,” said Threlkeld.

However, rat infestation isn’t the only issue. The report cites dirty shelves, overflowing trash, and gaping holes in the facility.

Also, medications purchased at these stores may have been tainted due to storing them in too-warm temperatures. Many drug products had warnings to “avoid high humidity” and “protect from moisture”

Reports also show when management fumigated the warehouse in January for the rodents, they never removed products, including medications, putting the items further at risk.

The FDA report is not final.

As for the more than 60 Family Dollar stores across Memphis, they are still closed as they remove products in question from their shelves.

View the FDA’s report below:

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