Family Dollar Just Recalled Several Products Due To A Rat Infestation

What's up with all the food recalls? One day it's romaine lettuce, the next day it's baby formula. It may feel like recalls have increased, and improved food monitoring standards play a role in that. While some recalls have to do with labeling errors  — a paper published in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology identified unlisted allergens as the top reason in cases related to labeling — others might be tied to bacterial infections.

Foodborne illnesses arise from contamination by salmonella, e. Coli, listeria, and other bacteria. Listeria, for example, can contaminate foods through contact with soil and fertilizer or even during processing (via Mayo Clinic). Salmonella, on the other hand, can contaminate food through contact with feces or improper cleaning/storing of raw meats, says the CDC.

Regardless of how the food becomes contaminated or with what, the situation can become life-threatening. According to the FDA, more than 48 million Americans suffer from foodborne illness each year, and about 3000 of those cases prove fatal. This is why food safety inspections and recalls are so critical. So when inspectors sniffed out feces and other signs that a Family Dollar facility had a rat infestation, it triggered a recall.

Food safety starts with production and distribution facilities

Following an inspection of a Family Dollar facility in Arkansas, the company pulled multiple items from store shelves. According to the FDA's report, "Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, 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."

More than 400 stores across the southern United States received products that were potentially contaminated, says a company press release published by Business Wire. Affected products include pet and human food, cosmetics, and vitamins.  They should all be thrown out or returned to the store. No receipt is necessary. Although no cases of illness have been reported thus far, customers who are negatively impacted by these products should contact Family Dollar's customer service and fill out an online report with the FDA. It's far better to be safe than to be sorry.