FDA authorities cautioned that a rat infestation and other problems uncovered during an inspection at an Arkansas distribution facility might have contaminated some commodities sold at Family Dollar stores in six states.

Consumers in the states of Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee should exercise extreme care when purchasing anything from Family Dollar stores in those states after January 1, 2021.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a press statement that it conducted an inspection of the West Memphis, Arkansas, plant in January after receiving a customer complaint. Rodent excrement and a variety of dead birds were also discovered inside, according to inspectors, along with different degrees of decomposition in the bodies of the animals.

More than 1,100 dead rats were found when the building was fumigated, authorities said.

This recall is being handled by the FDA in conjunction with Family Dollar.

A wide range of items bought from Family Dollar stores in the states of Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee during the months of January and February are now being investigated.

The factory was shut down within days after the inspection from the team, according to the FDA, and the investigation lasted until Feb. 11.

According to a press statement issued by Family Dollar, 404 of its locations may have sold items sourced from the contaminated facility.

The firm stated that it “is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall.”

This infestation has been well-documented for more than a year, as shown by FDA records examined by the FDA team, which revealed the presence of almost 2,300 more rodents in the facility from March to September 2021.

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,” a senior FDA official stated. “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility. These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk. We will continue to work to protect consumers.”

The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers not to use any possibly contaminated goods and to throw away any unused ones, no matter how well-packaged they were.

As long as they’ve been cleaned and sterilized properly, food in non-permeable containers like glass bottles or metal cans can be consumed.

It is also recommended that customers in the six states where Family Dollar has a presence quickly wash their hands after touching any of the items.

Salmonella and other infectious illnesses may result from rodent infestation. Pregnant women, children, infants, the elderly, and anyone who is immunocompromised are at a higher risk of disease.