We conducted an experiment comparing McDonald's food to equally cheap local diner fare; a burger and fries from each restaurant were left unrefrigerated for a week. Results: microscopic predators (molds, fungi) preferred the diner food. Illustrated with photos.
Reader Comment: John Binns says,
I believe it was Morgan Spurlock who first discovered the immortal french fries phenonmenon in the DVD deleted scenes of his film Super Size Me. Link (see extras section)Pete Duniho says:
With respect to the article about the "experiment" comparing burger and fries decay, one thing that was not mentioned in either the Boing Boing commentary, nor in the original article, but which was pointed out in the blog comments to that article, is that the experiment failed to control for the initial conditions.
Specifically, mold growth is a function of a variety of things, not just how many chemicals are in the food (which I assume is the source of the "which one is better for you" conclusion). One can preserve food quite well simply by reducing the moisture content, but more importantly mold growth is highly dependent on how contaminated the food is with mold or fungus spores to begin with.
In other words, the slower mold growth on the McDonald's food could easily be the result of it not having as much (or any) contamination in the first place. A clean kitchen, where the food is cooked to high temperatures, would result in this, neither of which are necessarily a bad thing. :)
As the comment on the original article web site points out, the fact that the McDonald's fries started to mold much more quickly after coming into contact with the already-moldy diner fries does suggest that initial contamination played a significant factor in the difference, rather than preservation.
Chris J. says:
In response to Pete Duniho, if you read Morgan Spurlock's new book [ Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America] his mould experience on the DVD was inspired by a series of practical jokes between himself and his MTV producer. They used to hide food in eat other's office until the smell gave it away. A McChicken sandwich lasted almost a year before being found accidentally. No smell, no mould -- and it still looked no more than a day old. You can't tell that that's just because McDonalds kitchens are the cleanest place on earth.