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Family Dollar Just Issued This Urgent Warning to Shoppers

Several products sold across six states are being recalled due to a major health concern.

Shoppers count on dollar stores for their vast inventories of everyday necessities at affordable prices. But if you've recently been shopping at a Family Dollar, you should know about a major warning that the chain has issued to its customers due to a potential health risk. Read on to see if products in your home could be putting your safety in jeopardy.

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Family Dollar issued a large recall on several types of products.

Family Dollar store in Fresno, California

On Feb. 18, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Family Dollar had ordered a voluntary recall of several types of products sold in its stores. The affected items are all human foods, including dietary supplements such as vitamin, herbal, and mineral supplements; all animal foods such as kibble, pet treats, and wild bird seed; all cosmetics such as skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos, and baby wipes; all medical devices such as feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages, and nasal care products; and all drugs such as pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, and other over-the-counter medicines for both adults and children.

According to the recall notice, the affected products were sold in stores across six states since Jan. 1, 2021. They include Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The products are being recalled after discovering a rodent infestation at a distribution facility.

black mouse on wooden surface
Shutterstock/Billion Photos

The FDA says it initiated a recall after a Family Dollar distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, was found to have "insanitary conditions" during an investigation brought on by a customer complaint. During an inspection, regulators noted the presence of "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." According to an FDA news release, more than 1,100 dead rodents were also found after fumigation of the facility in January 2022.

"Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe," Judith McMeekin, Pharm.D, Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs for the FDA, 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."

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The recalled products could be contaminated with Salmonella.

young woman hunched over with stomach pain

According to the FDA, rodent contamination raises the risk of Salmonella and other infectious diseases. Most otherwise healthy individuals will experience symptoms like those related to food poisoning if they develop a salmonella infection, including diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms tend to start within six days of exposure and conclude within a week.

However, salmonella infections can cause more serious health issues that require hospitalization or long-term medical treatment among older adults, young children, and immunocompromised individuals. The FDA also warns that the bacteria can enter the bloodstream in certain severe infections, creating major issues such as arterial infections, inflammation of the heart valves known as endocarditis, and arthritis. 

Here's what you should do if you've purchased any of the items affected by the recall.

person throwing away black bag of trash

The FDA recommends that any Family Dollar shoppers who may have purchased the affected items should not use them. The agency also advises that all affected drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and dietary supplements should be immediately thrown away, no matter how they are packaged. However, it's still possible to consume food in non-permeable packaging such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans once they have been adequately cleaned and sanitized. This can be done by removing the label, washing it with soap and water, and boiling the products for two minutes, or letting them soak in a bleach concentration for 15 minutes.

The agency says that customers should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after handling any affected products. Anyone with questions is urged to contact Family Dollar Customer Service by calling 844-636-7687 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

To date, there have been no reported cases of illness related to the recall, but anyone who feels they may have experienced any potential health issues should immediately contact their doctor or healthcare provider. Customers should also contact their veterinarian over any concerns with pets consuming the affected products.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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