Family Dollar has a big rodent problem – RetailWire
May 03, 2022
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit last week against Family Dollar Stores that alleges the chain and its parent company, Dollar Tree, had known for years that it had a rodent infestation in a state distribution center and did nothing about it. As a result, according to the lawsuit, the retailer sold unsafe products in hundreds of stores in Arkansas as well as in five other states.
The lawsuit brought by Ms. Rutledge followed a Food and Drug Administration inspection earlier this year that linked infestations at 404 Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee to the West Memphis warehouse. The chain was forced to temporarily close stores in connection with the infestation.
The FDA has issued a dangerous product alert for Family Dollar dating back to January 1, 2021 covering food, cosmetics, medical devices, over-the-counter drugs and pet food purchased from the retailer.
AG Rutledge cited the FDA’s findings when announcing his office’s lawsuit against the company. The FDA inspection of the factory found “live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decomposition, rodent droppings and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting, and rodent odors in throughout the facility, from dead birds and bird droppings, and from products stored in conditions that do not protect against contamination.
A fumigation of the warehouse in January revealed the death of more than 1,100 rodents. Thousands more have already been recovered, according to internal Family Dollar records.
“In many rural Arkansas communities, families rely on discount stores like Family Dollar for essentials like food, medicine or pet food,” Ms. Rutledge said in a statement. statement. “Family Dollar has known about this dangerous and massive rodent infestation for over two years, but they have continued to sell and profit from potentially contaminated products. Consumers lost money and could have lost their lives.
Arkansas AG sues Family Dollar under state law Deceptive Marketing Practices Act. The state is asking for up to $10,000 for each violation of the law and is seeking to revoke Family Dollar’s license to do business in the state.
“We don’t want to wipe out a source of groceries and medications, but if those groceries and medications aren’t safe, then we need someone else to provide that service,” Ms. Rutledge, quoted by The New York Times.
Family Dollar did not comment.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can a situation like Family Dollar’s West Memphis distribution center last so long? What can the chain do now to repair its reputation in the affected states and beyond?
“Rodent infestation is a symptom of a lack of control, operational discipline and willingness to spend money on fixing problems.”