Family Dollar Hit with Record $42 Million Fine Over Rodent Infestation in Warehouse

Family Dollar is facing a hefty fine of nearly $42 million after pleading guilty to operating a warehouse infested with rodents, marking the largest criminal penalty in a food safety case, announced the Department of Justice on Monday.

The case emerged following an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2022, where more than 1,200 rodents were discovered in the warehouse. The rodents were exterminated after the facility was fumigated, but the FDA found evidence of both dead and live rodents, as well as rodent feces and urine.

As a result, Family Dollar, a subsidiary of Dollar Tree, Inc., was charged with one misdemeanor count related to causing FDA-regulated products to become adulterated due to insanitary conditions.

Dollar Tree CEO Rick Dreiling expressed disappointment over the situation, emphasizing the company’s efforts to address the issue and enhance its policies, procedures, and facilities to prevent recurrence.

The problems at the warehouse were first reported in August 2020, with complaints of mice, pests, and damaged products from rodent activity in deliveries from the Arkansas facility. Despite the reports, shipments continued until January 2022. Following the FDA inspection, Family Dollar voluntarily recalled all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and human and animal food products in February 2022.

In addition to the significant fine, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree will be subject to rigorous reporting and compliance measures.

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Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer emphasized the importance of upholding consumer trust in the safety of food and drugs available in stores. He assured the public that the Justice Department remains committed to holding companies accountable for violations that jeopardize consumer safety.

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