Rats! Cafeteria Closes as Feds are Forced to Forage for Food

3WFN Cafeteria, Rockville, MD

3WFN Cafeteria
Three White Flint North
Rockville, MD

(Rockville, MD — June 24, 2015) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is attempting to make its employees set a national example by eating healthier.

Or not at all.

FDA employees experienced a rude start to their day today when they discovered their cafeteria was no longer open for business. The Three White Flint North (3WFN) Cafeteria, located in Rockville, MD, shut its doors yesterday after exactly two years of faithful service to both FDA employees and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) employees. NRC staff are the original tenants of 3WFN.

While frequent notices were sent out to NRC staff about the impending closure, FDA managers apparently didn’t do as good a job about explaining how they were removing the “food” from FDA staff.

Food and Drug Administration

Food and Drug Administration

“This is an outrage,” said an angry non-essential FDA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “I personally looked forward to my high-cholesterol breakfasts in the 3WFN Cafeteria. Now what am I supposed to do? And what did they do with those buckets of lard they always had on hand?”

FDA employees shouldn’t be too surprised at the lack of communication from their agency’s executives. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announced in February 2015 her intent to resign at the end of March. This information, too, was miscommunicated.

“What? Hamburg resigned!” exclaimed a non-essential FDA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. When did this happen? How was I supposed to know? And has anyone claimed her office supplies yet?”

Margaret Hamburg

Margaret Hamburg

As more and more FDA staff have taken over more and more floors of 3WFN, the agency has become the building’s majority tenant. As such, it got final say about the cafeteria’s disposition, and agency brass opted for meeting space over the health and well-being of the agency’s underlings.

NRC staff aren’t so bad off because the agency occupies two other buildings: One White Flint North (OWFN) and Two White Flint North (TWFN). The NRC TWFN Cafeteria served all of the agency’s employees before the opening of 3WFN, and it apparently is ready to do so again.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
photo courtesy of Sick Bird Photography

“We’re delighted to welcome back our 3WFN comrades,” said a spokesman for the TWFN Cafeteria, speaking on condition of anonymity. “All NRC staff can feel free to stop in, gird their innards for GERD, and have a mouth-watering meal!”

On the other hand, FDA employees have been left to fend for themselves, forced to either bring food from home or choose one of the local unhealthy eating establishments, such as McDonald’s.

“It’s ironic that an agency tasked with food safety and nutritional awareness would force its employees to consume what is essentially a heart attack on a plate,” said a FDA employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This must be what all of that recent ‘morbid downsizing’ talk was about.”

Others believe a conspiracy or nefarious plot is underway because of the timing of the 3WFN Cafeteria’s closure. It was only a few weeks ago that a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) patron claimed to have found a fried rat mixed in with their chicken order. Just this week, the incident was definitively proven to be a hoax.

“We involved the FBI so DNA testing could be conducted,” said a KFC spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Also, they insisted on doing a taste test. Guess what? We passed! And it was delish!”

Fried Rat at KFC

Fried Rat at KFC

The episode brought back memories of the battered chicken head found at a Newport News, VA, McDonald’s on November 28, 2000. The National Institute of Heath’s (NIH) Natcher Cafeteria subsequently marketed the delicacy as “Chicken McNoggin.”1

Closer to home, the timing of the cafeteria’s closure abutted the temporary closure of OWFN’s NRC NuReg Café, run by the folks that put “regurgitate” in “NUREG” every day. The facility re-opened this week, but rumors of poor refrigeration techniques and evidence of rat parts persisted, throwing off the NuReg Café’s usual clientele.

This isn’t the first time the NuReg Café has been in trouble with health department officials. In April 2010, it began serving NUREGs, NRC technical reports, to customers. And in September 2010, the menu was expanded to include microfiche in the form of fiche filét sandwiches.2

Battered Chicken Head at McDonalds

Battered Chicken Head
at McDonalds

Following on the heels of the temporary closure of the Department of Labor (DOL) Cafeteria, it’s easy to see why some current Federal employees long for the Federal cafeterias of days past.

“I miss the good old days of eating at NASA’s Shuttle Inn,” said a reminiscing, non-essential Federal government employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The non-refrigerated deli cold-cuts. The non-chilled mayonnaise that turned dark yellow and developed a crust. Yum!”


1. Natcher Ruffles Feathers with New Tasty Treat. FLATLINE 2001 Jan-Feb;3(1-2):1.

2. NuReg Café to Help NRC Clean House. FLATLINE 2010 Jan-Feb;12(1-2):e5.