Family Dollar Pleads Guilty to Horrific Crime, Faces Historic Fine

( – The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday, February 26, that Family Dollar Stores LLC pleaded guilty to serious public health violations. The company admitted to mishandling various consumer products, including food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics, at its distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas. These products were stored in a warehouse infested with rodents.

As a consequence of its admission of guilt, Family Dollar faces a staggering $41.675 million penalty, marking the largest fine ever imposed in a food safety criminal case. The company was charged with a misdemeanor for allowing products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be stored in conditions that could contaminate them.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer emphasized the importance of protecting consumer trust and safety. He stressed that consumers have the right to expect food and drugs on store shelves to be kept in a clean and safe environment. Mizer further reaffirmed the DOJ’s commitment to holding companies accountable for endangering public health.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jonathan D. Ross, expressed deep concern about Family Dollar’s actions, which breached consumer trust. Ross condemned the company for knowingly distributing unsafe and unsanitary products despite being aware of the rodent infestation at its Arkansas distribution center.

The DOJ revealed that Family Dollar’s guilty plea acknowledges distributing contaminated products to over 400 stores across several states, including Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Despite receiving reports of pest issues as early as August 2020, the company continued operations until a thorough FDA inspection in January 2022 prompted a widespread recall of affected products.

The alarming extent of the problem became apparent during the FDA inspection, which uncovered disturbing evidence of a widespread rodent infestation throughout the facility. Inspectors found many rodents – some alive and many dead – along with signs of decay, urine, droppings, and nesting, painting a stark picture of the unsanitary conditions at the distribution center.

However, as part of the plea agreement, the facility underwent a compulsory sanitary exercise – fumigating the facility and eliminating over a thousand rodents.

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