Family Dollar fined $41,675,000, a record amount, over vermin-infested warehouse

Family Dollar surely hates those meeces to pieces, but it didn't get rid of them and must pay a record fine for its vermin-infested warehouse. The company must pay more than $41m because of the "live rodents, dead and decaying rodents, rodent feces, urine and odors," the Justice Department reports.

A criminal information unsealed today in federal court in Little Rock, Arkansas, charged Family Dollar with one misdemeanor count of causing FDA-regulated products to become adulterated while being held under insanitary conditions. The company, a subsidiary of Dollar Tree Inc., entered into a plea agreement that includes a sentence of a fine and forfeiture amount totaling $41.675 million, the largest-ever monetary criminal penalty in a food safety case. The plea agreement also requires Family Dollar and Dollar Tree to meet robust corporate compliance and reporting requirements for the next three years. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney presided over the company's guilty plea and sentencing at today's hearing.

"When consumers go to the store, they have the right to expect that the food and drugs on the shelves have been kept in clean, uncontaminated conditions," said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer.  "When companies violate that trust and the laws designed to keep consumers safe, the public should rest assured: The Justice Department will hold those companies accountable."

As the cost of living rises, Americans have turned to dollar stores for basics including food, putting pressure on grocery chains and leading to a rapid expansion of the top retailers. And if you shopped at Family Dollar at the period in question, you might have gotten more than you bargained for.

Previously: Ecstasy for under a dollar