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FDA Warns Staples On Rodent Problem At Food Warehouse

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The Food and Drug Administration issued office-supply retailer Staples Inc. (SPLS) a warning letter involving rodent infestation at a California warehouse that stores food. The March 7 letter was posted to the FDA's website on Tuesday and stemmed from an inspection last October of a company facility in Stockton, Calif. FDA inspectors found rodent feces on or near "multiple packages of at least 11 different food products, including various brands of candies, crackers, creamers, pistachios, ramen noodles and bottled water, located in all areas of your warehouse." The FDA said Staples destroyed the food and fixed at least six roll-up doors. The company didn't immediately return a request for comment. The agency also said it found "rodent gnawed holes" in several products including candies, crackers, creamers, pistachios, ramen noodles and bottled water. The agency said it confirmed by laboratory analysis that rodents ate some peanut butter and cheese sandwich crackers. The FDA said it found one or more dead or decaying rodents in 23 out of 39 rodent traps located inside the perimeter of the warehouse, along with a 4-inch hole at the base of a wall. The agency said it found gaps greater than 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter at the base of at least 24 exterior doors. The FDA said it received a formal response from Staples to the agency's findings in February, but the agency suggested the rodent problem isn't completely fixed. "Your response further indicates that the presence of rodents is still evident in your facility," the FDA said in the letter. "Therefore you have not addressed how your actions will prevent future violations or adequately address the source of rodent infestation in your facility." -By Jennifer Corbett Dooren; Dow Jones Newswires, 202-862-9294; jennifer.corbett@dowjones.com

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