Family Dollar has temporarily closed over 400 of its stores after a warehouse was infested with rodents.
The discount store chain said in a statement Friday that it would issue a voluntary recall of numerous categories of products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration from 404 stores because of the presence of rodents at a distribution center in Arkansas.
''Family Dollar is notifying its affected stores by letter asking them to check their stock immediately and to quarantine and discontinue the sale of any affected product. Customers that may have bought affected product may return such product to the Family Dollar store where they were purchased without receipt,'' the company added.
The FDA said in its own statement that products bought from Jan. 1 onward from stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee stores may be unsafe. These products include food, cosmetics, pet food, medical devices and over-the-counter medicines.
According to the statement, inspectors found both live and 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 also said that it recovered 1,100 dead rodents after the warehouse was fumigated in January.
Judith McMeekin, the agency's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement that ''families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe.
''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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