April 21, 2024

Family Dollar Store Pays $41.675 Million For Rodent Infestation

The Family Dollar Store pays $41.675 million for having a rodent-infested warehouse and holding consuming products under insanitary conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). This is the largest ever monetary criminal penalty in a food safety matter.

Family Dollar Store Pays $41.675 Million For Rodent Infestation

Family Dollar was charged with one misdemeanor count of causing FDA regulated products to become adulterated while being held under insanitary conditions. The plea agreement requires the company and Dollar Tree. Inc. to meet robust corporate compliance and reporting requirements for the next three years.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney presided over the company’s guilty plea and sentencing at the hearing.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement, “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. 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.”

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, added, “Companies distributing and selling food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics must ensure that these products are being held in safe and sanitary conditions. The Justice Department will continue to work closely with the FDA to investigate and prosecute those who put public health at risk by failing to meet this important obligation.”

In pleading guilty, the company admitted that its Arkansas distribution center shipped products to more than 400 stores in Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The company started getting reports of mouse and pest issues in August of 2020. By the end of the year, stores reported receiving rodents and rodent-damaged products.

The company kept shipping these products until January 2022, when an FDA inspection found live rodents, dead and decaying rodents, rodents feces, urine, and odors, and evidence of gnawing and nesting throughout the warehouse. A fumigation resulted in the extermination of more than 1,200 rodents. In February 2022, the company voluntarily recalled all drugs, medical devises, cosmetics, and human and food animal products sold since January 1, 2021, in then 404 stores serviced by that warehouse.

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