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This Major Discount Grocery Chain Is Being Investigated Following an Epic Rat Infestation

The local authorities have subpoenaed documents from its parent company.

Last month's epic rat infestation, which shut down hundreds of Family Dollar stores and caused a major product recall, has prompted an investigation by local authorities into the company's records.

Dollar Tree, the parent company of the discount retailer, revealed in its most recent earnings report that the infestation, which originated at a Family Dollar distribution center in Arkansas, cost the company $34 million, due mostly to the large-scale recall of items like dietary supplements, food, cosmetics, and medications. The products were pulled from 404 stores the center was serving across Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, and those locations were temporarily shuttered.

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However, the company still isn't out of the woods on the issue. The grocery giant has now been subpoenaed by prosecutors in the Eastern District of Arkansas, according to ABC24 News, and will need to show documentation on pests, sanitation, and compliance with the law. The Dollar Tree says it plans to fully cooperate with the investigation and any additional recalls.

"We take situations like this very seriously and are committed to providing safe and quality products to our customers," company spokesperson Kayleigh Campbell said in a statement to USA TODAY in February. "We have been fully cooperating with all regulatory agencies in the resolution of this matter and are in the process of remediating the issue."

Rats had been plaguing the Arkansas center for a while, with internal records indicating the problem as early as March of 2021. Between March 29 and Sept. 17, some 2,300 rodents were collected. Then in February of 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said some 1,000 rodents were discovered when the facility was fumigated. Prompted by a consumer complaint, inspectors found live and dead rodents, carcasses on the conveyor belt, rodents in food and roaming around the warehouse, and "too many rodent droppings to count."

In early March, Family Dollar was gradually reopening shuttered locations but provided no clear timeline on the stores that still remain closed.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Deputy News Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura