Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at a climate workshop sponsored by The Climate Center at Georgetown University, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Gina McCarthy welcomed returning workers — with clean refrigerators. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The Environmental Protection Agency is still working on those carbon-emissions rules, but it’s already saved its own workers from a potential bio-hazard: a 16-year-old can of soup, which was discovered in one of the Chicago headquarter’s refrigerators during the government shutdown.

EPA workers from the midwest region got a welcome-back e-mail, which included a note from chief Gina McCarthy, information about back pay, and a few notes about what had gone on during the 16-day partial shuttering of the government. Fortunately, those remaining in the building had thought to clear the office fridges of all those weird Tupperware-like containers and tubs of yogurt that accumulate in any communal kitchen.

From the e-mail: “During the shutdown, we made every effort to water accessible plants.  And of necessity, the refrigerators were emptied of all perishable foodstuffs last week.   The oldest  food found?  A can of Campbell’s soup dated 1997!  So, please remember it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the refrigerators clean.”

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