NBC News is reporting that Family Dollar Stores, which are now owned by Dollar Tree, Inc., was this week ordered to pay $41.6 million for using a rodent-infested warehouse to distribute food, cosmetics and medical devices to more than 400 stores across the southern United States.

The largest criminal penalty of its kind comes after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) investigation found “live rodents, dead and decaying rodents, rodent feces, urine, and odors, and evidence of gnawing and nesting,” at the company’s distribution center in West Memphis, Arkansas, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

On Monday, February 26, 2024, Family Dollar Stores LLC — which has 8,000 stores across 46 states — pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of causing goods to be “adulterated while being held under insanitary conditions” at a federal court hearing in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The NBC News report may be read HERE.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice press release issued yesterday (2/26/2024):

Family Dollar Stores LLC pleaded guilty today [2/26/2024] to holding food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics under insanitary conditions, related to a rodent infestation at the company’s West Memphis, Arkansas, distribution center.
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.

This writer, as a retired State of New Mexico environmental regulator and enforcement manager, has come to believe that most things in our day-to-day lives as Americans are unnecessarily regulated or over-regulated; however, when it comes to the basics of food safety, clean water and clean air, some regulation is a very good idea.

Since “the fall” and original sin occurring in the Garden of Eden, mankind carries the temptation (or nature, if you will) to sin.  Walking in integrity (e.g., doing the right thing even when no one else is looking) is key to godly living and is part of loving others as ourselves.

In this instance, I give the approving nod to the FDA, which is looking out for those of us who can’t always afford to shop at high-end stores and which is protecting lives by assuring our foods, cosmetics and medical devices are clean and presumably free from disease-causing pathogens, heavy metals or other contamination.

When we do things as unto the Lord, we are operating in love and integrity:

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men [emphasis mine]…”.

Micah 6:8 (ESV)
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The bible does not say we are to follow the mandates of civil government if such mandates are contrary to the commands of God, but we are instructed to otherwise subject ourselves to the authority of civil government and to do good – demonstrating the goodness of God and as a witness to our faith in Christ.  As carriers of the Holy Spirit, we should walk in the love of God, with integrity, as a blessing to others:

Romans 13:1-3 (NKJV)
Submit to Government
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.  Do you want to be unafraid of the authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”

Praise Jesus forevermore!

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