The Environmental Protection Agency spends billions cleaning up hazardous waste sites each year, but this week it discovered a potential bio-hazard brewing in its own backyard. Inside one of the refrigerators in its Chicago headquarters, the agency discovered a 16-year old-can of Campbell's soup.
The find was revealed in an email from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sent to workers in the Midwest returning to work Thursday from a furlough imposed by the government shutdown.
Tucked away among fitness center announcements and a reminder to remove "out of office" messages activated during the shutdown was a notice about the eyebrow-raising item.
"...[O]f necessity, the refrigerators were emptied of all perishable foodstuffs last week," read the email, first published by The Washington Post. A copy of it was reviewed by NBC News. "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."
The status of the contents of the can are left to the reader's imagination.
As for its edibility, Campbell's Soup spokeswoman Carla Burigatto said, "Our cans of soup have an expected shelf life of two years."
The EPA did not respond to a request for comment about the 16-year old can of soup.