This Popular Dollar Store Just Closed Over 400 Locations
A major inspection has revealed rodent infestations and other unsanitary conditions.
Dollar stores are a necessity for many people across the U.S., providing them access to food, home goods, toiletries, and more at a low price point. According to a 2021 Consumer Reports survey, 88 percent of Americans say they rely on dollar stores to do their shopping, at least sometimes. But customers who frequent one of the most popular dollar store chains might be in for an unfortunate discovery the next time they try to go shopping. One retailer known for its savings has just revealed that it closed more than 400 of its locations in the last week. Read on to find out where you may no longer be able to shop for cheap deals for some time to come.
Family Dollar said it has temporarily closed over 400 stores.
Your next trip to Family Dollar might not go according to plan. The popular dollar store confirmed on Feb. 19 that it had temporarily closed more than 400 of its stores across the nation, The New York Times reported. According to the newspaper, the shutdowns are the result of a rodent infestation discovery and other unsanitary conditions found at one of the company's distributions centers in West Memphis, Arkansas. The discovery of these troublesome conditions came from a Jan. to Feb. 2022 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection at the West Memphis facility, following a consumer complaint.
"Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination," the FDA said in a consumer alert released Feb. 18.
The FDA says many products from the retailer could be unsafe to use.
The FDA's alert also warned the public that several categories of FDA-related products purchased since Jan. 1, 2021 from Family Dollar stores in six states could be "unsafe for consumers to use" because of the unsanitary conditions at the West Memphis facility. Alongside Arkansas, the other impacted states include Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. More than 400 stores in these states have been temporarily shuttered.
"Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe," FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, PharmD, said in a statement. "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. We will continue to work to protect consumers."
RELATED: For more retail news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Family Dollar has also recalled a number of items.
On Feb. 18, Family Dollar initiated a voluntary recall of several FDA-regulated products that were stored and shipped from the distribution center in West Memphis. The recall includes all medications, medical devices, cosmetics, and dietary supplements, as well as all human and animal food products, sent by the center. According to a press release from Family Dollar, the recall of these products only apply to the closed store locations and it also does not apply to any products that were shipped directly to the shuttered stores by individual distributors or manufacturers, like frozen and refrigerated items.
Family Dollar spokesperson Kayleigh Campbell said in a statement that the company "temporarily closed the affected stores in order to proficiently conduct the voluntary recall," and that the locations would reopen as soon as possible, per The New York Times.
"We take situations like this very seriously and are committed to providing safe and quality products to our customers," Campbell said. "We have been fully cooperating with all regulatory agencies in the resolution of this matter and are in the process of remediating the issue."
If you've bought any of the recalled products, do not use them.
Family Dollar said it is "not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall." But according to the FDA, rodent contamination can cause salmonella and other infectious diseases, which are most risky for infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised people. The agency's investigation uncovered more than 1,100 dead rodents following a fumigation at the West Memphis facility in Jan. 2022. And a review of Family Dollar's internal records also demonstrated a history of infestation, with more than 2,300 rodents having been discovered between March and Sept. 2021.
"Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products," the FDA said, adding that consumers should be washing their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores.
Family Dollar is also asking that customers check their own stock. "Customers that may have bought affected product may return such product to the Family Dollar store where they were purchased without receipt," the company said. According to the FDA, all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and dietary supplements should be discarded regardless of packaging. But food in undamaged glass or metal cans could potentially still be used if properly cleaned and sanitized.