When did “Shake and Bake” become deadly? Since it took on a new meaning in the drug world. It’s not just a popular method to easily cook breaded chicken or fish at home, but small-time drug producers employ it to produce methamphetamine (meth). For one former federal security officer, shake and bake blew up in his face at work.

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the D.C.-area, a lieutenant with the NIST’s own internal police force slipped into one of the labs while on duty and tried the shake-and-bake method to cook up a stash of meth. It exploded, blowing out four windows and leaving him with burns on his arms as well as singed eyebrows and hair.

The officer claimed he was just trying to fill a butane lighter then switched stories to saying he wanted to better understand the drug so he could teach training exercises to other NIST police officers. Good luck making that case, buddy.

The Washington Post explains how this was a “Breaking Bad” episode come to life:

The main character in “Breaking Bad,” Walter White, is a brilliant chemist who at his peak makes meth in a pristine, elaborate laboratory.

As it turns out — and as was made clear in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., on Friday — the meth episode at NIST was a relatively simple yet dangerous affair, similar to operations carried out in kitchens and backwoods across the country. The man behind it, Christopher Bartley, 41, pleaded guilty to trying to make less than 5 grams of meth under what is sometimes called the “shake and bake” method, which generally involves cold medicine, chemicals and plastic soda bottles.

Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for Maryland, said there was no evidence that Bartley intended to sell the meth or that his actions were part of a broader conspiracy.

But Rosenstein also said: “There was no evidence at all that this was an experiment or research of any kind. Mr. Bartley’s job was to be a police officer at NIST — to protect people and property on the facility. It wasn’t his job to do research. It was not his job to be in the lab at all.”

That Bartley’s operation fell far short of the elaborate setup seen by fans of “Breaking Bad” is typical of meth labs. They often are small, crude and dangerous, according to Connell and Keith Humphreys, a Stanford University professor and former senior policy adviser at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Humphreys questioned Bartley’s defense that he was cooking meth on his own to learn more about it. “All you have to do is go on YouTube to see how to do it. It’s no big secret,” Humphreys said.

Let’s chalk this episode up to the every growing list of federal government workers behaving badly. From watching porn on the clock to insubordination, why is it that there’s no shortage of stories of public servants abusing their access, positions, and public money for their own gain?

Last year we reported on the millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted to pay federal workers as they stay at home awaiting investigations and punishment for their misdemeanors. Because this was a drug offense, Bartley may actually get see criminal punishment, but he’s one of few federal workers who get more than a paid vacation while they moonlight elsewhere.

Meth lab injuries  are on the rise across the nation especially as the “shake-and-bake” method has grown in popularity according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While the CDC points to training law enforcement as one way to reduce dangerous incidents, I’m sure Bartley’s actions of breaking into a lab and trying to produce meth in the night by himself is not what they meant.