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Why won’t those McDonald’s burgers go bad?

October 11, 2010

…and a recipe for brand new chicken burgers with blue cheese and wholemeal buns

Ever heard of the old McDonald’s burgers people keep that never go bad? Ever wondered why? I’ll give you what I think is the most logical, fact based explanation, and I’m afraid it’s going to be devoid of any evil-meat-industry-conspiracy-theories and references to all those scary chemicals.

And if you’re not too keen on a McDonald’s burger even after reading that, there’s a recipe for chicken burgers and wholemeal buns! Yay!

News update 20.10.10:

This article was featured on the very excellent podcast The Reality Check by Ottawa Skeptics.

The last week has seen a revival of the discussion of this topic. I was not aware of it when I published this article, but yet another old burger has been picked up by the media. This time it’s an art project done by Sally Davies who has photographed a Happy Meal nearly every day for six months. There are quite a few newspaper articles, blog posts and forum discussions, and even a few experiments. The Burger lab has an ongoing experiment which is quite well-designed, involving McDonald’s burgers, home made burgers, separated buns and patties, and different storage conditions. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome! In the meantime, I would like to urge anyone who can bother to join the discussions and present some rational alternatives to all the pseudoscientific explanations.

——————————————————————-

So, I wanted to do a slightly more controversial topic than browning apples and pizza aesthetics this time.

There’s an issue that has been bugging the hell out of me for years : the supposedly immortal McDonald’s burgers. Do a Google search on “old McDonald’s burger” and you’ll see that there are a lot of them around. The most famous ones would be this 12 year old burger, the nearly 4 year old burger in this video,

this guy who has his own museum and his Youtube video:

And there is also an old Norwegian burger.

So to sum it up: those burgers (and many more) are several years old and have not gone bad. They’re not moldy or decomposing in any way. Why? They’re food, right? Meat and bread should normally go bad, right?

The usual explanations are “unnatural food”, “lots of preservatives”, “chemicals” or some half-assed cooked up conspiracy theory about modern meat farming. What really bugs me about this is that people run along with their instinctive reactions (food + not going bad = scary and not understandable) and try to explain it with other instinctive reactions (unnatural things in food = also scary, and not understandable).

It’s OK to react. It’s OK to think it’s strange or scary or whatever. It’s also OK to go past the first thoughts that pop into your head and try to investigate a bit more. Let’s see how the burger owners’ arguments hold up to that investigation.

Argument 1: preservatives. Lots of preservatives.

My general impression is that most people’s reaction is that the burgers are so full of preservatives that they will probably neverever go bad. Turns out that’s not it:

According to the McDonald’s website,  these are the ingredients in their plain hamburgers:

100% pure USDA inspected beef; no fillers, no extenders. Prepared with grill seasoning (salt, black pepper).

So no preservatives there.

The buns have a lot more ingredients. The list is long and difficult to pronounce, and might possibly look a teeny bit scary, even to me. And because of that, I’m probably going to write a separate post about the ingredients later – just to se if they’re really as scary as they look. However, there are only two preservatives; calcium propionate and sodium propionate. Both are considered safe by the FDA, as based on research. They are also very common, and not in any way unique to McDonald’s; they are used by most industrial bakeries. Calcium propionate actually occurs naturally in butter, cheese, apples, strawberries and grains. Proprionates work in not very scary ways; they disrupt the metabolic processes of microorganisms and inhibit their ability to grow or colonize.

Argument 2: there is no nutritional content in the meat

Ladies, Gentleman, and children alike – this is a chemical food. There is absolutely no nutrition here. (…)McDonald’s fills an empty space in your belly. It does nothing to nourish the cell, it is not a nutritious food.

http://bestofmotherearth.com/2008/09/24/1996-mcdonalds-hamburger.html

Huh? Aren’t burgers usually made of …meat? Meat is nutritious? Again, the McDonald’s hamburgers are made from 100% beef. So there’s meat. Lots of it. Meat is muscle, and muscles are, according to Wikipedia, on average consisting of

75 percent water, 19 percent protein, 2.5 percent intramuscular fat, 1.2 percent carbohydrates and 2.3 percent other soluble non-protein substances. These include nitrogenous compounds, such as amino acids, and inorganic substances such as minerals.

But apparently, there’s no nutrition, even when concidering that mold will eat almost anything. Wow, I’d sure be interested in an explanation of how on earth McDonald’s have done this?

She has one:

Ever hear of factory farming? Please Educate Yourself: Watch The Meatrix

The Meatrix is a little film about the negative sides of modern meat farming. I suppose the film and web site could have some good points (except that it is far too fanatical and one-sided for me to be able to take it seriously) – but how on earth can factory farming change the fact that muscles mostly consist of water, protein and fat? And besides – I can’t find anything on the website that supports the claim of denutrified meat – actually it mentions artificial additives that increase the nutritional value as one of the problems with factory farming. Jeez! At least read your own sources? There’s also a paragraph about additives that slightly extend the shelf life of meat, but that is nowhere near a good explanation either.

Besides – why the hell would the farms want to remove all the nutrients? I have absolutely no idea how it would be done, but I am guessing it would take a lot of time, research, work and money. And what would the payback be? Selling meat to a company that keeps their burgers frozen until they’re cooked? I don’t get it.

There’s been done some research on the nutritional values of pasture raised and conventionally raised cattle – and while there are some indications that conventionally raised cattle may be slightly less nutritious there is absolutely nothing that indicates that conventional beef is empty.

Argument 3: the meat is full of chemicals

(…)these hamburgers are not food substances (the way we normally think of food), they are chemical concoctions that contain the look, taste, and smell of food  but don’t be fooled… there is nothing “food-like” about these substances at all. (…)McDonald’s has over 33,000  restaurants worldwide. The only way they can make their hamburgers and fries taste virtually the same at every restaurant is by taking the “uncertain variables” out of the food service equation: namely, they replace food (which has a tendency to taste different depending on the season, environmental conditions, and quality) with CHEMICALS, which ALWAYS look, smell, and taste the same.

http://www.bionicburger.com/forreal.html

Again with the “removing the natural-ness of the meat” type of argument.

First of all, it’s minced meat. It doesn’t taste a lot, especially when it’s fried to death and covered with a ton of ketchup and pickles on it. Also, it’s minced meat. That means it’s got several different meat cuts, from several different animals in it. That will even out any differences in taste you might have noticed if you had a single steak.  Ever heard the myth about there being meat from 100 cows in one burger? While that is extremely exaggerated, it does make a good point. The funny thing is, he even mentions this at the end of the video, except that he claims that it is from a 1000 cows. Allegedly a thousand cows, and he still thinks it’s strange that different burgers taste the same? I am speechless.

No wait, I’m not. HAVE YOU GOT ANY IDEA HOW CRAZY THAT SOUNDS!? Replacing food with chemicals? Newsflash buddy: food already consists of chemicals! Everything in meat – water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals are built up by chemical compounds! Even if McDonald’s were to replace these with synthetic chemicals, the bacteria or mold wouldn’t know because the chemicals would have exactly the same properties!

It is such a common misconception that “natural” chemicals are good and “man-made” chemicals are dangerous and bad for you. I seriously recommend that people read Sense about Science’s Making sense of chemical stories. It is packed full of fact based, scientifically relevant mythbusting.

Thirdly, what do I know – I am an archaeologist – but I don’t really think it’s possible to do that. This is stupid to the point that I don’t care if I’m making an argument from incredulity right now, but I just can’t see how that would be possible. It is possible to grow meat in a lab, but that is a process still under development. And even that meat is based on muscle cells from an actual animal – there is no “taking the animal and replacing the meat with something that looks and tastes like meat but isn’t”. It’s also pretty darn expensive, and not quite something I think McDonald’s would bother to do for a hamburger that’s going to be sold for a couple of dollars.

Argument 4: the meat has a lot of chemical residue in it

Burger Museum Man’s explanation seems to be ever so slightly incoherent. On his website he claims that the meat has been replaced by chemicals. In his video he seems to think that the meat is still meat, but pumped full of chemicals. And of course he’s not referring to the naturally occurring chemicals in the burgers, he’s referring to the dangerous, very chemical chemicals that large, evil companies use. Did you see the list of “ingredients” (his words, not mine) at the end of the video?

Those are indeed real. They are all chemical compounds that have been be traced in foods by the FDA – chemical compounds that should not be there and would be bad for your health in large doses. What the smartass doesn’t tell you is how rarely those compounds are found. If you check out the USDA Food safety and Inspection Service website and especially their Red book the truth is somewhat less scary than what you’d think from watching all the YouTube propaganda.

In 2008, 17 876 meat samples were analyzed and tested for different, law regulated residues, out of which 20 – twenty – residue violations were found. More particularly: 1 405 samples of beef were tested, and three samples came out positive for compound residue, out of which two were non-violative. That means that 99,93% of the beef is residue free, and 99,98% is within the limits of what is considered safe. The violative compound was arsenic, the non-violative compounds were Chlorinated Hydrocarbons. Both of these are toxic in large doses, however I can’t seem to find anything about them preventing meat from going bad, or making it taste the same at all seasons and areas of the world.

There is also a section about inspector generated sampling – which is done when it is suspected that an animal may have violative levels of chemical residues. These results are somewhat higher with 52 out of 4635 samples giving positive results. Some of these are antibiotics (which weren’t found in any of the regular samples), and there certainly are a number of issues concerning the use of antibiotics in industrial farming. But again: I can’t find anything that suggests that antibiotic residue would prevent food from going moldy/bad, or to always taste the same. Besides, McDonald’s actually has a pretty strict antibiotics policy.

The explanation

OK, so the theories so far are tons of preservatives, meat magically stripped of all nutrition and meat somehow replaced by “chemicals”, but not the ones that can be traced. All this is based on the fact that the burgers don’t mold.

Instead, what if the explanation is something really simple? A phenomena we see every day? Something that doesn’t need the invention of gigantic conspiracies and physical and biological impossibilities in order to make sense. What if it’s something small and innocent like…

…lack of moisture!?

No, seriously. Both mold and bacteria need moisture to grow. The 12 year old burger was kept in a cupboard for the first year – even with the bun and burger separated. The bionic burger in a fabric pocket. The 4 year old burger in a lunch box. The Norwegian burger in a paper bag. In other words – only in conditions that would allow the burger to dry up.

Think about it: when was the last time you saw moldy oatmeal? Or moldy dried lentils, raisins, crackers, beef jerky, herbs, pasta, or slices of bread forgotten on a plate? Drying things is a preservative!

In addition, both the burger and fries are fried at high heat. Frying does two things: the heat kills of any pathogens that may be in the food – thus leaving the product close to sterile. It also evaporates and, if at a high enough temperature, expels a lot of water in the food, and replaces it with fat. Mold is not too keen on fat when there’s little moisture around. The end result is a sterile, dry food that has lousy growth conditions for molds and many bacteria. Recommended read: this super cool article at The burger Lab that explains the science of frying.

Barry Swanson, a professor at the Washington State University department of food science believes the fat content is crucial to the immortality of the burgers and fries, in addition to the salt

McDonald’s French fries, for example, which have repeatedly proven their hardiness to spoilage, contain citric acid as a preservative. But a bigger factor might be the fat content of the fries. About 50 percent of the total 250 calories contained in a small order of fries come from fat. “Anything that is high in fat will be low in moisture,” (…) McDonald’s fries are also coated in a nice, thick layer of salt, something we’ve been using as a natural preservative for the last 2,500 years.
(…) The beef patty is also high in fat — varying between 37 and 54 percent of the total caloric content — and has been cooked at a high temperature.
http://labcoat.co.za/wp/?p=469

Which is why it is som mindboggingly stupid that the woman in the diet.com video actually compares a french fry to a fresh, uncooked potato. She even ponts out that the french fry is oily and salty!

Experiments

There is even more things that support this theory – Morgan Spurlock – the guy behind Supersize Me! – did just that. He put several McDonald’s burgers on glass jars that would seal in the moisture, and guess what? They molded!

(The original video has been removed so I had to link to this one. Unfortunately it’s been uploaded by someone who hasn’t really gotten the point.)

This experiment has been replicated by carrie at Stay Free! Magazine. Her fries and burgers were stored in a plastic bin. They molded.

Some might question why the McDonald’s fries and burger molded less than the diner equivalents. The answer is probably in the size. The burger is thinner, and so are the fries – which means that they are exposed to more heat per surface area – and that kills off more pathogens and reduces more of the water content.

That argument is supported by an experiment done by Mark Vaughan including a home made but smaller, more thoroughly cooked hamburger, a McDonald’s burger and a Burger King burger AND an organic tomato. They all molded.

A fourth experiment has been done by… me!

I bought a plain hamburger. In order to test my hypothesis about moisture being the key, I cut the burger in three and stored the pieces in different conditions.

A was kept in a container with a loose, non-tight lid that would allow plenty of air circulation. Pretty much the same conditions that all the old burgers have been kept in.

B was kept in a container with a tight lid, to keep it from drying up.

C was kept in a similar container, but I also sprinkled it with a few drops of water to add some extra moisture to see if this would increase the mold growth even more.

The results? Have a look:

This one looks exactly like it did when I put it in the container. And exactly like all the other old burgers. The bread is dry end crumbles a bit, and the burger is kinda rubbery and hard. Not a sign of mold or any other type of decomposing.

I so rest my case.

I have not done anything to this burger except for keeping it in a container that is more air tight than the one burger A was kept in. It stinks, it’s falling apart, and I swear that it gave me an evil stare when I threw it away.

I partly messed this one up. The first container I put it in actually made it dry out completely like burger A before I noticed. By the time I moved it to a new container a week had already passed. However, it still supports my theory, because after I added some more water it molded quite quickly.

That just about sums it up. It’s hard to leave this case when there are so many stupid claims that are left uncommented, but I could go on forever then. I really could. Instead, I’d rather do something more useful:

Still in the mood for some food? Yeah, me too.

Chicken burgers with blue cheese and wholemeal buns

Serves 4

These burgers are super juicy, super tasty and super easy to make.

Hamburgers

500 g ground chicken
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 eggs
1 finely chopped medium-sized onion
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika powder
Blue cheese

Mix everything except for the cheese together. The result may be a bit gooey, but it should still be all right. Mine ended up being too sloppy to be shaped into burgers before putting it in the frying pan – so I just scooped up a bunch with my hand and threw it in the pan.

Fry the burgers on high heat for about 3 minutes on each side. Add the cheese in the end, it will melt on top of the burger. Top it with some cheese in the end and let it melt on top of the burger.

Wholemeal buns (8 buns)

25 g fresh yeast or half a bag of dry yeast
50 g butter
3,5 dl milk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
300 g flour
200 g coarse ground wholemeal flour (grov sammalt hvete in Norwegian)
Sesame and/or flax seeds

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt the butter and add the milk. Measure the temperature by putting a few drops on the back of your wrist, when it is body temperature or slightly warmer, add the fresh yeast and stir. If you are using dry yeast, add it to the dry ingredients. Then add the milk and butter. If the dough is very sticky, add some more flour.

Cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave to rise in a warm-ish place (I usually just turn on the cooker and place the bowl on top of that) for 30-45 mins. Then separate the dough into 8 equal parts, and make flat burger buns. Cover with a towel again, and leave for 15 minutes. Brush the rolls with a bit of milk or egg, and sprinkle the seeds on top.

Bake in the middle of the oven, at 200°C for 10-12 mins, until they are lightly brown in colour.

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64 Comments leave one →
  1. Tine permalink
    October 11, 2010 9:14 pm

    Nice experiments! But why so angry about the anti-meat-industry movement?

    And don’t forget to mention that you should ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly when handling raw chicken meat, even in Norway. Although, apparently not if fried. =)

    • October 11, 2010 9:57 pm

      Thank you! And a very good point indeed! Wash your hands!

      I’m not angry with the anti-meat-industry per se, as long as they use reasonable and rational arguments (which a lot of them do). However, some sites tend to be very narrow-minded and have a lot of misrepresetations and/or factual errors in their arguments. That’s not OK, not matter what they are arguing for.

      It’s also damaging their case, they are not as easy to take seriously. Which is not good – since there ARE quite a few issues with the meat industry. The problem is you need fact to back up those claims, if not they’re not going to be taken seriously.

  2. October 13, 2010 3:46 pm

    Good post! Thanks for summing it up so nicely, and just when some friends on facebook started worrying about that myth.

    • October 19, 2010 12:43 am

      Thank you, Marit! There are still a lot more points that could be made I think – you won’t believe some of the theories people have about this. (maybe I should do a separate article about McDonald’s myths?)

  3. Hans Olav Arnesen permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:09 pm

    @Ingvild: “The problem is you need fact to back up those claims, if not they’re not going to be taken seriously.”

    I belive you are wrong, Ingvild. If you really want to mobilize people for a cause you have to appeal to their emotions, not their intellect. Pictures of suffering animals are far more effective than rational arguments against the industrial manufacture of meat. Which mass movement has ever had success withouth spreading at least some form of slanderous disinformation about its opponents?

    I`m a very tolerant vegetarian by the way, without any schemes of my own for manipulating the emotions of carnivorous countrymen. Or so I say….

    • October 19, 2010 12:51 am

      Thank you for your comment, Hans Olav!
      I think you definitiely have a point in saying that it is more efficient to appeal to people’s feelings. However, as far as me and quite a significant number of other skeptics and rationally minded people are concerned – a picture of a suffering animal is not enough. We want to know if it’s really suffering, why it is, what the better alternative is etc, and we want numbers and facts to prove the claims. I certainly don’t mind appeals to emotions, but there should be a reality check on them. maybe a combination of the two would be the best approach? I’m not a fan of disinformation because of the moral issues – and besides, it tends to come back and bite you in the ass ;)

      • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink
        October 22, 2010 10:38 pm

        Very well said, I could not agree more! It almost always comes back and bites you in the ass. When you make false statements to back your political or moral beliefs (even if those beliefs are true), simply because they are compelling, the proof usually become the ammunition for deniers later on.

      • Hungry Dude permalink
        February 23, 2012 6:15 pm

        Im A HUNGRY FOR SOME MICKEY DEEEESSSS!

  4. An Idle Dad permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:10 am

    Crush up some SAO biscuits – say eight? You’ll double the volume, keep the taste and the burgers will hold together much better.

    Great post.

    • October 19, 2010 12:54 am

      Thank you!
      However, I think I prefer my biscuits burger-free. Why ruin a perfectly good product? ;)

  5. October 14, 2010 9:30 am

    Good post. I am opposed to overly-industrialised meat production, but also try to be a rational human being. Even though a McDonald’s burger is not monster food, it can still be scary. A single patty on average contains meat from 55 different animals.

    Have a look at my blog for something on the other end of the quality scale.

    • October 19, 2010 1:19 am

      Thank you for your comment and the link!
      I can’t seem to find the original article that the website refers to (I just get a 404 when I click the link). If you – or anybody else – know where to find it I would be interested in reading it. I am curious about what method Clayton and Belk used, since a lot of the sources I’ve read say it’s pretty much impossible to determine the number of animals. If their study is properly done and scientifically valid, it certainly is surprising! It would certainly explain why ground beef always seems to taste the same.

      (your blog made me very hungry)

    • Jon O permalink
      February 2, 2012 4:30 am

      And the grain in your bread comes from how many plants? per slice? per loaf? It makes a difference in meat why? Organic mater is all the same, be scared of bread too please. And I know I’m kickin an old horse but I feel like trollin.

      • February 3, 2012 6:03 pm

        You nasty old troll you!
        It matters (to me) because of:
        1. Food safety. BSE, e. coli, salmonella etc from one animal can be ground in with meat from uncontaminated cattle.
        2. Traceability. If someone gets sick it makes it more difficult to trace where the contamination is from.
        3. To me, knowing where my food comes from has a value in itself. For reasons relating to quality and ethics (animal welfare). These things may not matter to you.

        Somehow your bread analogy doesn’t seem very precise. And anyway, I like my burgers medium rare and my bread well done.

  6. Tore permalink
    October 14, 2010 2:01 pm

    That’s a few nails in the coffin on that myth then! I’m impressed that you actually went and did your own experiment.

    Well done and myth well busted :-)

    • October 19, 2010 1:21 am

      Thank you!
      Having a burger slowly molding away in your bookshelf (for some reason I didn’t feel like keeping it next to all my other food in the kitchen) is a strange but fun experience.

  7. October 15, 2010 5:05 pm

    We are placing a Mcdonalds cheesburger in front of a cam, streaming it LIVE 24/7, for YOU to see what happens with it under normal room conditions (no editing, no cheating).
    We are launching our project on Friday Oct 15th at 12pm ET, please visit our website: http://www.watchmyburger.com we would like to hear your ideas and comments (you can post your comments on the website).
    Thank you, let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

    • October 19, 2010 1:30 am

      OK, I’m gonna let you self-promote here.
      Cool thing that you’re doing your own experiment, I like the webcam solution, very thorough. Not sure about some of the claims on your website though (“there is no way a food product can last this long without decomposing and being ravaged by bacteria”). The burger will probably dry up, it’ll be interesting to see what you make of that. Good luck with your project!

  8. Laura permalink
    October 16, 2010 5:38 pm

    Excellent article!
    With our economy in the toilet and most of our manufacturing jobs relocating outside the US, why do we viciously sabatoge the successful American corporations like McDonalds instead of celebrating their success? This company is so efficient at providing goods and services that it is practically unaffected by the recession.

    Maybe you’re not in the US since your recipe uses the metric system to measure the ground chicken.

    • October 19, 2010 1:34 am

      Thank you for your comment, Laura.
      I’m not sure I completely agree with you though – there are both good and bad sides to McDonald’s, so they shouldn’t be exempt from criticism when it is relevant.
      But that is a completely different discussion, and also one that I can’t really claim to have enough knowledge about. ;)

  9. YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:42 pm

    I love your detailed list of irrational explanations. I looked into a bunch of these too, and they just don’t make sense. At the end of the day, I did an experiment to see if Fast Food Burgers were immune to rot or not. I took a McDonalds burger, a Burger King burger and an organic burger and put them in a small greenhouse to see if they would rot, and shock of all shocks, they all rotted.
    In any case, keep up the good work, you are so right here.
    Just because something isn’t good for you, doesn’t mean that you should believe every bad thing you hear. You should be willing to put every belief that you hold up to analysis and scientific exploration.
    M.

    • October 23, 2010 12:11 pm

      Thank you, Mark!
      You are so right, there are a lot of claims about this that are just… bizarre. Junk food certainly isn’t good for you, but that’s because of the nutritional content – not because of some strange, lab produced chemical property.
      I think it was the woman in the diet.com video that used the 4 year old, non-moldy, still greasy french fry to explain why people are obese! Apparently because the food doesn’t break down when it is in a box, it won’t as soon as it gets in your body. That’s just scary. Really scary.

  10. October 24, 2010 1:24 pm

    very sensible and factual. Thank you.
    Years ago our son hid a homemade meat pattie hamburger with cheese slice on a sesame seed bun (but was still a store purchased burgerbun) in the bottom a rarely used laundry cupboard (he didn’t want to eat it).
    I found it a few months later with very,very slight mould on the bottom , bit dried looking but otherwise intact and looking fairly okay with a small bite out.
    I remembered this burger because MR 8 eyes bigger than his belly had asked for a 2nd burger and I said only if you eat it all.We had left the room and I noticed he seemed to eat too quickly.

    For a joke we put it on a plate and asked him at afternoon snack time if he wanted a burger …he fell for it but knew when he picked it up it was harder than normal.
    It would have been a few months easily that it was there…9 years ago (he is 17 now)
    Loved the way you ended the post.
    mmmm

    • October 24, 2010 7:43 pm

      Thank you, Trish!
      Haha, that’s a lovely story! :D (Note to self: remember this approach for future children)

  11. November 9, 2010 5:05 pm

    “Ladies, Gentleman, and children alike – this is a chemical food. There is absolutely no nutrition here. (…)McDonald’s fills an empty space in your belly. It does nothing to nourish the cell, it is not a nutritious food. ”

    I love this line. It’s like McDonald’s have created the perfect diet food. Tasty, cheap, filling, no calories.

  12. Lefty Farkleberry permalink
    May 1, 2011 5:25 am

    Burger Blues

    Apparently, I can get a burger now
    At my local Mickey “D’s”,
    “Freshly” fried to order,
    Hold the lettuce, onions, pickles please.

    Then, take that savory Happy-slab
    Of ground-up cow on home,
    Park it for score of years,
    Until it resembles greasy Styrofoam.

    Wonder if an archeologist will find it,
    A fossilized Quarter Pound?
    And if Ronald, then, will want it back,
    To sell it one more round?

    Lefty Farkleberry

    • Cami permalink
      January 16, 2012 12:57 am

      Haha, that was funny.

  13. May 1, 2011 3:26 pm

    Great poem, Lefty!

    • Lefty Farkleberry permalink
      May 1, 2011 6:31 pm

      Thanx. Always appreciate the “attaboys”.
      Lefty

  14. October 24, 2011 10:25 pm

    I landed on your blog while looking up arguments that counter the alarmist attitude regarding McDonald’s and their food that’s been circulating the past few years. You present the facts very well and this is one of the few places I found which had a rational approach to this situation. Thank you for quelling just a little bit of ignorance on the internet. :-)

  15. December 29, 2011 7:43 pm

    Great post. I’m no lover of McD’s, and frankly, I just don’t like the idea that my burger contains bits of probably a thousand mechanically-separated miserable cows. BUT, I also don’t like to see junk science and people getting freaked out about something. People shouldn’t eat McDonalds on a regular basis because it’s not a healthy choice and the quality of the food is icky. But I find it unfair when people just assume that because something doesn’t rot, it’s frankenfood. It’s heavily-processed, fast food. That’s all. It’s a thin little patty that dries out before it has a chance to rot. Given the choice, I’ll always pick a delicious burger I made myself from a local cow and I’ll gladly skip the McD’s.

  16. Cami permalink
    January 16, 2012 12:25 am

    Check this out:

    http://www.bionicburger.com/create.html

    He says NOT to put the burger in a sealled container, that the moisture needs to escape it!

  17. February 18, 2012 10:42 pm

    A website devoted to total lies! McDonald’s has no preservatives in it’s meat or buns. Unfortunately garbage sites like this website are allowed to exist for those of you anti-capitalist losers!

    • February 21, 2012 5:29 pm

      Erm, the article clearly states that there are preservatives in the buns, but none in the meat.

  18. February 21, 2012 5:26 pm

    We need to see a control experiment – does a homemade burger just dry out or go moldy in the same conditions? Then you would have actually done it scientifically.

  19. March 6, 2012 10:31 pm

    That lady called a potato a vegetable in the video clip. That made me sad.

    • Thomidog permalink
      February 7, 2013 11:34 pm

      Why? A potato is a vegetable. What else would it be?

  20. bob permalink
    April 23, 2012 2:05 am

    GMOs that is all I have to say! you all eat food “like” products these days! go eat an orange or an apple~ when is last time you did that?

  21. Hannah Wilding permalink
    July 1, 2012 1:18 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do these experiments! I actually worked at the meat works in New Zealand and have packed thousands of boxes of meat for Mcdonalds, so I know what the quality of the beef is like in a Mcdonalds burger. It comes from good quality prime steer cattle, and we would pack the meat from trimming of cuts that were to be kept whole. I have seen it first hand, and know it is good beef!

  22. ahriman permalink
    July 1, 2012 2:06 pm

    Ok, so you say it comes down to moisture and I agree with the principle that moisture prevents the growth of mould, bacteria e.t.c hence why freeze dried and vacuum packed food lasts longer. But what your saying is the sauces, the meat, the vegetables that go into a burger do not contain moisture, clearly thats not the case. The patty contains fat which you can clearly see oozing out of the burger when you squeeze it. Fat contains carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms however they are not arranged as H2O, CO2 e.t.c but become so when metabolized, i.e exposed to air and burned or metabolized through oxygen which is what happens when you cook or reheat burgers, so unless some kind of compound prevents air or heat from breaking down the patty it will always breakdown. The sauces primary constituent is water, the vegetables that are used in the burgers i.e lettuce are 90% water. If the burger or its components were freeze dried then it certainly would last forever or at least a long time, but even if they were, they eventually have to be fried/microwaved/grilled e.t.c and therefore become rehydrated through oil or water depending on how it was cooked or reheated. Take a look at a packet of instant noodles. The noodles and freeze dried veges are hard and brittle due to the lack of water. If you then boil the noodles and veges they become rehydrated and given enough time will go rancid.

  23. King permalink
    July 12, 2012 3:46 am

    Very good artice! this has help decreased the scare of Mickey D’s burgers in the house hold! now I can eat them again lol

  24. steve permalink
    July 21, 2012 6:58 pm

    your full of bullsh*$ you show the video where you can clearly see the burger is made of basically plastic hence all the ingredients that end with lene….. what the f*$% you mean lack of moisture you taking these poor Americans for idiots well not me because moisture is in the air and something call mold is also in the air which feed on all natural food it comes in contact with even if it drench with salt .because over time salt WILL breakdown in the air to the water in it…..and the mold will start to feed on a exposed food..conc. mac=not food

  25. steve permalink
    July 21, 2012 7:27 pm

    another note the salt use to preserve food is totally different from the one on your table because NaCl is more reactive and would not last hence they use KNO3 potassium nitrate which way less reactive so if your trying to say that MacDonald is using KNO3 on their fries its either your an idiot or your telling me some inside info..also clone meat+clone feed x fertilizer use to make feed=meat that was engineered to have long freezer life=cancer in humans=more money for Pharmacy industry=same people owns the Food industry…no call me conspiracy nutjob now you brainwashed idiots… cant believe people would defend something that’s evil and as no positive effects ..its not like its free and Americans are poor and cant do better.. they can… support your local farmers and restaurants which half of the time use good stuff

  26. steve permalink
    July 21, 2012 7:34 pm

    your an lair i just saw the video with the guy and the jars he put some good local made french fries that was fried, salted like every other french fries and also he put some gmo mac fries and guess what in two days the local fries begin to mold and the mac fries two months passes still no mold …so obviously your one of them pushing the dumbing down of people agenda

    • March 7, 2013 4:56 pm

      Steve, completely agree with you!

    • April 24, 2013 8:21 am

      same science. the mac fries don’t have enough surface area to hold in moisture long enough for mold to start growing, so they dry out instead of molding. yes, there is moisture in the air as well as mold spores, but typically there’s not enough moisture in the air to saturate a burger long enough for mold to take hold. if they were placed in sealable containers that trap the moisture, you’d end up seeing mold. If you want to believe the other way and completely ignore an experiment that’s easily duplicated, then feel free.

  27. Stephen permalink
    August 18, 2012 11:34 am

    Thanks for doing this. I’m a microbiologist, and also believe junk science propaganda works against timely implementation of the many actual reforms we need in our industries. On that note, here’s my I accidental contribution along the same lines as your experience.

    About five years ago, I had a 1970 Mustang in which the instrument panel went out driving home at night. When it went out, there were two cheeseburgers and a small fry I was transporting that were forgotten In the commotion. They sat in my driveway in the bag for about a year amongst other trash on the back floorboard. When I finally got around to cleaning it to be hauled away, I found the food. The burgers had hardened and looked fake, but showed no signs of rot, not even stink. The thin fries were hard and Styrofoam-like, not greasy.

    It should be noted I lived in Palmdale, CA, in the Mojave high desert just outside of LA. So the drying thing seems to be a solid explanation. Quite surprising, nonetheless.

  28. Gill permalink
    November 13, 2012 6:42 am

    Your theory makes complete sense! Even more so to me, because my first year of high school, I did a science experiment about mold, and I forgot the step to add water to the bread slices I was using and then I shut each one up in cupboards that fulfilled different conditions, and not one of them molded.

  29. caleb permalink
    February 26, 2013 7:56 pm

    nice I going to yous it as a report (I am 10 years old)

  30. Harry permalink
    March 2, 2013 6:52 pm

    What a stupid article, you take forever to get to the point, i dont want to listen to your ramble just tell us why the fuck it happeneds

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