Family Dollar's Rat Problem Just Got Bigger

Arkansas is suing the chain over yearslong infestation at distribution warehouse
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2022 11:40 AM CDT
Family Dollar's Rat Problem Just Got Bigger
The Family Dollar logo is centered above one of its variety stores in Canton, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(Newser) – Earlier this year it emerged that Family Dollar had a problem with rats. Now the discount chain has a related problem with a bigger foe—the attorney general of Arkansas. The state's Leslie Rutledge filed suit against Family Dollar last week over the previously revealed rat infestation at a distribution warehouse, a facility that provides products to various states in the South, reports the New York Times. The lawsuit alleges that Family Dollar—and parent company Dollar Tree—knew the warehouse had an unacceptably large rat infestation as far back as 2020 but failed to fix it. Dead rodents and droppings were found near pallets of nuts, mouthwash, Jell-O, and scores of other food and drug products.

"We don't want to wipe out a source of groceries or medicines," Rutledge said, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "But if those groceries and medicine are not safe, then we need someone else providing those services." The penalty could be heavy: The state is looking to levy a fine of $10,000 per product—meaning "each individual package of pasta, each individual package of potatoes could be a $10,000 fine for Family Dollar and Dollar Tree," Rutledge said. The state says it may bar the chain from operating in Arkansas altogether unless things improve. The chain, which previously recalled products over the issue, hasn't responded to the lawsuit. (Read more Family Dollar stories.)

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