LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Inspection reports show that the Family Dollar distribution center in West Memphis had violations related to rat infestations going back to January 2021, over a year before a mass infestation was announced and several stores closed.
On Friday, Feb. 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that more than 1,000 rodents were found inside a Family Dollar distribution facility in Arkansas.
The chain issued a voluntary recall that impacted over 400 stores in the South.
An inspection report from March 3, 2021 states the facility violated Code 11.35(c) after "significant rodent activity" was observed in the aisles of the store where human and pet food was located.
The report also stated that management of the Family Dollar was "aware of the current rodent issues at the facility" and that the "issue has been ongoing for approximately 60 days," putting the initial onset of the infestation near the beginning of January 2021.
Another inspection in September 2021 of the Family Dollar distribution center noted there had been "live rodents in a box of pringles."
Three months later, in December, a complaint was filed that said an employee saw three rats on his desk at a distribution center in West Memphis.
In a statement, the FDA said it is "urging caution around any items purchased since Jan. 1, 2021, at Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Tennessee."
After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered, officials said.
The FDA said it is working with Family Dollar to begin a voluntary recall of affected products.
Those products include human food, pet food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, medical devices and over-the-counter medications that were purchased in January or February from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri or Tennessee.
(Editor's Note: The attached video is a report from Feb. 21, 2021.)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.