08 November 2010

McDonald Hamburger don't Rot - the Truth

What a Project ... Happy Meal Experiment Project ... Who created this Happy meal experiment project on how hamburger from MacDonald does not rot, all credit for the picture goes to Sally Davies. Congrats on your determination on holding the temptation not to eat that hamburger from McDonald for 180 days :) just in case you are reading this blog ... well it's just a joke .. don't take it to the heart .. you've done a great art... I would call it. 

So here is the truth about the Happy Meal hamburger from McDonald ... why the hamburger don't rot?

btw, actually I have a question ... why they called it hamburger? not beef burger? or steak burger .. it doesn't look like ham to me ...  err.. never mind.. 

From the yahoonews
Vladimir Lenin, King Tut and the McDonald's Happy Meal: What do they all have in common? A shocking resistance to Mother Nature's cycle of decomposition and biodegradability, apparently.

That's the disturbing point brought home by the latest project of New York City-based artist and photographer Sally Davies, who bought a McDonald's Happy Meal back in April and left it out in her kitchen to see how well it would hold up over time.

The results? "The only change that I can see is that it has become hard as a rock," Davies told the U.K. Daily Mail.

She proceeded to photograph the Happy Meal each week and posted the pictures to Flickr to record the results of her experiment. Now, just over six months later, the Happy Meal has yet to even grow mold. She told the Daily Mail that "the food is plastic to the touch and has an acrylic sheen to it."

So does the story end here... that's it for the hamburger rot truth?

taken from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt blog
few weeks back, I started an experiment designed to prove or disprove whether or not the magic, non-decomposing McDonald's hamburgers that have been making their way around the internet are indeed worthy of disgust or even interest.

By way of introduction, allow myself to quote myself. This is from myprevious article:

    Back in 2008, Karen Hanrahan, of the blog Best of Mother Earth posted a picture of a hamburger that she uses as a prop for a class she teaches on how to help parents keep their children away from junk food... The hamburger she's been using as a prop is the same plain McDonald's hamburger she's been using for what's now going on 14 years. It looks pretty much identical to how it did the day she bought it, and she's not had to use any means of preservation. The burger travels with her, and sits at room temperature.

    Now Karen is neither the first nor last to document this very same phenomenon. Artist Sally Davies photographs her 137 day-old hamburger every day for her Happy Meal Art Project. Nonna Joann has chosen to store her happy meal for a year on her blog rather than feed it to her kids. Dozens of other examples exist, and most of them come to the same conclusion: McDonald's hamburgers don't rot.

The problem with coming to that conclusion, of course, is that if you are a believer in science (and I certainly hope you are!), in order to make a conclusion, you must first start with a few observable premises as a starting point with which you form a theorem, followed by a reasonably rigorous experiment with controls built in place to verify the validity of that theorem.

I decided to design a series of tests in order to ascertain the likeliness of each one of these separate scenarios (with the exception of the no-air theory, which frankly, doesn't hold wind—get it?). Here's what I had in mind:

    * Sample 1: A plain McDonald's hamburger stored on a plate in the open air outside of its wrapper.
    * Sample 2: A plain burger made from home-ground fresh all-natural chuck of the exact dimensions as the McDonald's burger, on a standard store-bought toasted bun.
    * Sample 3: A plain burger with a home-ground patty, but a McDonald's bun.
    * Sample 4: A plain burger with a McDonald's patty on a store-bought bun.*
    * Sample 5: A plain McDonald's burger stored in its original packaging.
    * Sample 6: A plain McDonald's burger made without any salt, stored in the open air.
    * Sample 7: A plain McDonald's Quarter Pounder, stored in the open air.
    * Sample 8: A homemade burger the exact dimension of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder.
    * Sample 9:A plain McDonald's Angus Third Pounder, stored in the open air

so Can It Mold?

We've proven that neither a McDonald's burger nor a regular home-made burger will rot given certain specific conditions, but are there conditions we can create that will cause it to rot, and more importantly, will the McDonald's burger rot as fast as the homemade burger?

The final two burgers I tested were a McDonald's burger and a regular homemade burger of the same dimensions placed in plastic zipper-lock bags side by side. Hopefully the bag would trap in enough moisture. The

Conlusion Would they rot?

So there we have it! Pretty strong evidence in favor of Theory 3: the burger doesn't rot because it's small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there's no mold or bacterial growth. Of course, that the meat is pretty much sterile to begin with due to the high cooking temperature helps things along as well. It's not really surprising. Humans have known about this phenomenon for thousands of years. After all, how do you think beef jerky is made?

Here is the official statement from McDonald

Response to McDonald's Happy Meal Food "Experiment"

“McDonald’s menu items are freshly prepared in our restaurants. It is not possible to provide a detailed explanation regarding these claims without knowing the conditions in which these food items were kept. That said, we strongly caution anyone from jumping to conclusions.

McDonald's hamburger patties in the U.S. are made with 100% USDA-inspected beef. They are cooked and prepared with salt, pepper and nothing else - no preservatives - no fillers. Our hamburger buns are made from North American-grown wheat flour. Our world-famous French fries are made from potatoes and cooked in a canola-oil blend. These are the same foods that consumers buy every day in their local grocery stores - bread, meat and potatoes.

Bacteria and mold only grow under certain conditions. For example, without sufficient moisture – either in the food itself or the environment in which it is held – bacteria and mold and associated decomposition, is unlikely. If food is/or becomes dry enough, it won’t grow mold or bacteria. In fact, any food purchased from a restaurant or grocery store or prepared at home that lacks moisture would also dehydrate and see similar results if left in the same environment.

McDonald's food safety and quality standards are among the highest in the industry. McDonald’s sources its ingredients from approved suppliers that adhere to strict standards for food safety and quality, including a controlled, well-maintained and clean environment throughout our entire supply chain. Together with stringent procedures for handling and storage, we work hard to minimize any exposure that would contribute to the presence of mold, bacteria or other microorganisms.”
  1. The fries rot, too.


  2. Newsflash: the fries rot, too.


  3. Hi Monica,

    Thanks for the info :)

    I think someone need to expand the experiment to the ice cream, chicken nuggets and the rest of the mcd food hehe


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