Family Dollar Is Under Fire for Reportedly Selling This to Shoppers
The dollar store chain has just been hit with a new lawsuit.
Whether you're just looking for a good deal or you depend on lower costs, you've almost certainly found yourself browsing the aisles at your local dollar store. Family Dollar has been one of the major dollar store chains providing unbeatable prices to U.S. shoppers for more than 60 years now, marketing itself as a "family" for communities throughout the country. But despite its advertisements of togetherness, the company was just hit with a massive consumer lawsuit from a state attorney general. Read on to find out what Family Dollar is now under fire for reportedly selling to it shoppers.
Family Dollar was recently at the center of an FDA investigation.
On Feb. 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that it had been investigating a Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, since January as the result of a consumer complaint. The agency said its inspection revealed a number of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation.
"Specifically, during this inspection we observed rodent evidence, including live rodents, dead rodents of various states of decay, rodent excreta pellets (REPs), gnawings, nesting, and odors indicative of rodents throughout the entirety of your facility including areas where human food is routinely stored," the FDA wrote in a report issued to the facility.
The agency confirmed that more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered after they fumigated the facility in Jan. 2022, and rodent droppings that were sometimes "too numerous to count" were found among pallets and cases containing mixed nuts, mouthwash, and Jell-O, among other food and health products.
Now the company has been hit with a new lawsuit.
Family Dollar is facing a new lawsuit months after the investigation, The New York Times reported. According to the newspaper, the dollar store chain is being sued by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who filed the suit on April 28. Dollar Tree, who owns the chain after acquiring it in 2015, was also named in the lawsuit.
Rutledge is claiming that Family Dollar knowingly sold potentially contaminated products to shoppers in the state, along with five other states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee—where the West Memphis facility also distributed products. According to the FDA, rodent contamination can contain Salmonella and may cause other infectious diseases.
"Arkansas consumers were unaware that the products contained Salmonella bacteria, or had a considerable risk of containing Salmonella bacteria, or other infectious diseases," the lawsuit says. "Family Dollar chose not to disclose this information to Arkansas consumers but continued to profit from the sales of its goods."
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The lawsuit claims Family Dollar has knowingly had a "massive and long-lasting" rodent infestation.
In Feb. 2022, Family Dollar issued a voluntary recall for specific products shipped by the facility to more than 400 stores throughout the six states and temporarily closed these locations to help carry out the recall. But this is reportedly not the first time the company had to do something similar. Rutledge's lawsuit claims that Family Dollar has been forced to close other stores across the U.S. in the past because of rodent infestations.
At just the West Memphis facility alone, federal inspectors claim the company had been aware of an "increased presence of rodents" since at least Jan. 2020, The New York Times reported. The FDA confirmed in its report that Family Dollar's own internal records indicated that more than 2,300 rodents were collected from the West Memphis facility between March and Sept. 2021, "demonstrating a history of infection."
"Together, these facts demonstrate a much larger and troubling pattern of willful and intentional neglect and deceptive and unconscionable business practices by Family Dollar," the lawsuit says, noting that the company's "method of control intentionally allowed and resulted in the massive and long-lasting rodent infestation."
Officials are looking to end the company's business in Arkansas.
According to The New York Times, Rutledge is suing Family Dollar for up to $10,000 for each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practice Act. The attorney general is also calling for an official withdrawal of the company's authorization to conduct business in the state.
"We don't want to wipe out a source of groceries and medicines, but if those groceries and medicines are not safe, then we need someone else providing that service," Rutledge told the newspaper.
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