Family Dollar issued a voluntary recall Friday over possible rodent contamination at the company's distribution center in Arkansas. Stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are affected, and items regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration and purchased as far back as January 2021 are being recalled.
The products sold in affected states in about 400 stores include:
- Cosmetics (makeup, lotions and shampoo, for example)
- Medical devices (items such as face masks, bandages and feminine hygiene products)
- Medications (eye drops, antacids and other over-the-counter products)
- Dietary supplements (including vitamins)
- Food (for humans and pets)
Refrigerated or frozen foods shipped directly to the stores aren't included in the recall, Family Dollar said in its announcement. Foods that come in glass containers or metal cans may also be safe to eat after being thoroughly sanitized, the FDA said in an alert Friday. If you have an affected product, you should wash your hands immediately after handling it and contact a health care provider if you have any health concerns, according to the agency. The FDA also advises that any medical devices, drugs, cosmetics or dietary supplements be discarded regardless of packaging.
Family Dollar said it isn't aware of any illnesses related to the products, but customers can return recalled products to the stores without a receipt.
Rodent contamination can cause salmonella and infectious diseases, which pose the greatest risk to children, the elderly, pregnant people and those who are immunocompromised, the FDA said. Following a consumer complaint, the agency said it began investigating a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas in January. The investigation turned up living and dead rodents in the facility, as well as urine, feces and evidence of the animals nesting and gnawing. The agency also observed dead birds at the center and storage that didn't protect products against contamination.
Most people infected with salmonella experience non-life threatening symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever.
After reviewing the company's internal records, the FDA said there may have been a history of infestation, as the records indicate a "collection of more than 2,300 rodents between Mar. 29 and Sep. 17, 2021."
In the recall, Family Dollar said it's notifying affected stores and asking them to check their stock and "quarantine and discontinue" the products. Customers with any questions can contact customer service at 844-636-7687.
Family Dollar didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for additional comment.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.