Any bulk food shipment can easily get contaminated. Mold, animal feces, even broken glass, can find its way into food that is stored in large quantities awaiting long- distance shipment.
Though the Food and Drug Administration has a budget of about $7,140,000 a year for employing 205 inspectors and analysts whose job it is to check food coming into the United States, it has no regular program to check food going out of the country. If what we found in San Francisco is any indication, the FDA hasn't checked food exports for several years.
Because the same ships and docks are often used for imports and exports, these inspectors sometimes run across contaminated foodstuffs headed abroad. But the lack of any program for inspection guarantees the easy export of adulterated foods. The following examples of contaminated food were noted by an FDA official in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Government Operations in July 1978:
6,796 boxes of insect-ridden rice bound for Chile.
3,250 pounds of moldy flour bound for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
200,000 pounds of yellow cornmeal contaminated with bird and rodent feces bound for the Netherland Antilles.