Happy Meal is ageless: no decay in a year on a shelf

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131 Responses to “Happy Meal is ageless: no decay in a year on a shelf”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Most fast food restaurant burgers contain 20% “pink sludge” (industrial term for meat by-products blended up and treated with ammonia). Yummy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another reason why (other than salt content) this meal doesn’t decompose the way a home cooked meal would is McDonalds are absolute Nazis when it comes to cleanness in their shipping, distributing, and cooking practices. With out any trace of bacteria in the food you can’t get fun things like mold or bacteria growth that easily without purposely introducing it. Here are some snippets from a usa today article on just how clean they are.

    McDonald’s (MCD) is considered one of the best, if not the best, company in the United States when it comes to food safety. “They’re the top of the top,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, food-safety director of the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C.

    No one enters the work floor without stopping at the automatic hand washers that work on the same principle as a car wash. Inside, the plant is a vast plain of chilly concrete and shining stainless steel, gleaming from the efforts of the 32-person cleaning crew that works from 2 to 6 a.m.

    If a sample turns up positive, the two hours’ worth of patties in that batch are destroyed by being buried in a landfill. In addition, two hours’ worth of patties produced on either side of that batch — an additional four hours’ worth of product — are sold to an outside company that fully cooks them before selling them elsewhere, killing any possible E. coli O157:H7.

    The operation centers on a specially designed “clam shell” grill that closes over hamburgers, from the bottom and the top, to cook both sides at once. It is attached to a timer, so even if a new cook tried, he or she couldn’t undercook the meat. All hamburgers are cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, which has been scientifically validated to kill bacteria.

    from http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-12-29-mdonalds-burgers-food-safety_N.htm

    Also a note, I have seen rotting mc donalds inside a dirty trash can. I’ve also seen bagels from a bakery not get mold on them because they were in a dry place away from other foods and moisture. I’m sure if I wanted to, I could get a mc donalds happy meal to rot.

  3. wylkyn says:

    I was cleaning the other day and found a piece of homemade bread that had fallen behind the couch. It was dry and hard. Not a trace of mold or decomposition. I can personally vouch that my daughter and I did not use any preservatives or strange nefarious chemicals when we made it over four months ago (yes, long overdue cleaning under the couch!). Nothing but baking flour, salt, yeast, etc. Should we then assume that it is evil and horrible because it hasn’t decomposed?

    These aren’t Happy Meal Apologists objecting to this post. They are Real Science Advocates.

  4. Brainspore says:

    If anything most kids will probably see this as yet another testament to how great happy meals are. “Free toy AND magical powers of immortality? AWESOME!”

  5. Anonymous says:

    i like pies zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  6. PeaceLove says:

    To paraphrase Michael Pollen: “If the microbes won’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t, either. Because they’re not stupid.”

    One more reason to avoid fake food.

    • MarkVaughan says:

      Ya… that makes sense… we all know how smart microbes are… in fact they just keep stealing our jobs and throwing off the curve on SATs…

  7. Anonymous says:

    The link is down… coincidence? I think not.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thats actually kind of scary, how can food not be biodegradeable? Does that mean everytime I crap out a happy meal it doesn’t decompose either? Maybe Ronald McDonald has a secret agenda, that involves making our shit last forever. Or maybe happy meals are just that great lol.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see this compared to a control burger + fries meal. I wonder if there’d be that much difference side-by-side, at least for the fries …

    • querent says:

      “I’d like to see this compared to a control burger + fries meal. I wonder if there’d be that much difference side-by-side, at least for the fries …”

      Check out the DVD extras for “Super Size Me.” The control, burger and fries from a few mom and pop joints, did not last long at all.

      I can’t believe there are fucking happy meal apologists on here. :)

      • peterbruells says:

        Anon, I’m from Germany, where we have lots and lots a lots and then some bread, though mostly of the denser and darker side. Bread gets modly in the right conditions. But not necessarily so.

      • gobo says:

        There’s a big difference between being an “apologist” and knowing the actual facts behind why this burger & fries didn’t decompose.

      • peterbruells says:

        “Supersize Me” was an interesting way to make a point, but its most extreme parts have been mostly debunked
        .
        To be fair, he tested not just “living on fast food”, but “gorging on fast food and avoiding physical exercise”.

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously haven’t seen “Supersize Me”. Morgan Spurlock does exactly that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wait — really? You should do that, definitely, at home if you don’t think regular food would decompose. One time I lost a potato in the pantry and only found it because the incredible odor drove me to search. The bread should mold, too, if it’s made from grains.

    • Tony C. says:

      Morgan Spurlock compared the McDonald’s burgrer decomposing with a real one on the Supersize Me DVD Extras.

      You can see the results here

      (http://www.videosift.com/video/Supersize-Me-Extra-The-Smoking-Fry)

    • tonixtonix says:

      There is a side-by-side- comparison of the two in the DVD extras of the movie Supersize Me. The burgers and fries from a local restaurant had to be thrown away in a few days because the rot and the smell were upsetting the office staff. The McDonald’s food continued to maintain its pristine look. Gross stuff. Even the fillet of fish didn’t decompose!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m wagering the box it came in biodegrades faster than the meal

  11. Patrick Austin says:

    @Axe7540: The meat itself is probably less likely to make you sick than any meat you’d cook at home. A $100,000/yr butcher who grinds beef stands to loose a few tens of thousands of dollars if he makes people sick. One bad incident at a McDonalds would cost them tens of millions.

    The overall experience is ridiculous, though. I recently had my first chain fast-food in 5 years (McDonalds). The first bite spontaneously dissolved into a slurry in my mouth. The degree to which my teeth were rendered pointless was mind blowing. It was impossible to think of it as a hamburger. I’d completely forgotten how that stuff feels.

    If there’s no way for me to replicate it at home, it’s not food. The meat, I might be able to do with enough time in the food processor and some sort of steam cooking. That bun? Jesus Christ, I do a lot of baking, but I have *no clue* how you make something like that without the following:

    McDonalds Regular Bun:
    Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.
    CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY.

    I love that WHEAT AND SOY warning at the end. Practically the only natural things in there.

    And, yes, I realize this is the same shit in any supermarket hotdog buns or cookies or whatever. McDonalds is just an easy target.

  12. sing it, baby says:

    Regardless, it’s pretty damn tasty for horse meat.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Have to agree with the ‘faux test’ post…On the days I have eaten ‘mickey d’s, which is rare, so when I do, I normally over order and ergo…most ends up in the bin, if i don’t take it out the next day it will STINK! Which obviously means it is decomposing! Oh, well, I know it’s not great for you but it does taste good every now and then!

  14. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    Why would anyone want to eat a meal that decomposes?! I want to eat hamburgers that enjoy immortality.

  15. zgz says:

    well at least now we know what to stock up the bunker with when a nulcear war looms., and you get toys to play with during the fallout.

  16. igpajo says:

    The real test is would it make you sick if you ate it now. It might look alright but still give you some food poisoning.

  17. Mobius says:

    @#2, very true. There is food, and there are food related products. This is obviously not the former.

  18. Daemon says:

    Hmm. It’s well on the way to being made a catholic saint.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I now dub you, Sir McDonald, the Immortal Knight!!!

    That’s really gross. I remember when I was a kid in Korea, one of my teachers lectured us on eating fast food. And she said that people who consume a lot of such food gets the toxins and preservatives stocked up in their body, that their bodies decay much slower after death.

  20. Chris Anderson says:

    I dare someone to try eating it :).

  21. Xenu says:

    Does this Happy Mean contain hydrogenated oil? If so, that could be the reason for it lasting so long. Perhaps someone (who doesn’t mine foul smells) could try it with a Happy Mean that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oil.

  22. johnnyaction says:

    I’m not convinced of how good of science this is or what it actually proves.

    • Anonymous says:

      I didn’t read the article, but I’m guessing the soda is flat.

      In reply…

      #12 – If you’re not sure what it proves then how could you possibly be convinced?

      #29 – Probably. But hamburgers, buns and fries aren’t cured.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Maybe McDonald’s should be in the embalming business………
    Maybe mummies ate Happy Meals!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m walking away from this thinking if I eat enough McDonald’s I’ll live forever.

  25. Anonymous says:

    the economist keeps track of a big mac index, which answers all of your questions about prices of mcdonalds in other nations:
    http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15715184

  26. peterbruells says:

    *scratches head*

    I fail to the relevance of this faux experiment.

    Once foodstuff has dried and is in a dry place, it will not decompose and not moldy.

    She should at the very least fried a burger by herself and put some bread next to it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bread should mold! Meat should rot! If it is real that is and not loaded with additives to keep it from doing it!

  27. peterbruells says:

    Basically, this looks like some of the “scare experiments” teachers and parents do with some meat placed in a jar of coke, to demonstrate the dangers of fizzy drinks to your stomach.

  28. Anonymous says:

    McDonald’s retired chairman Fred Turner is a member of the Bohemian Grove. And last encampment, he actually brought McDonald’s brand products to his camp (despite the fact that Grove guests are served the best locally sourced organic food available). He boasted that the massive block of McD’s “cheese” did not need to be stored in the fridge, because it had been developed to last indefinitely without refrigeration.

  29. gothicgeek says:

    well i thought the article was funny and laughed out loud!

    thank you

    :)

  30. GrrrlRomeo says:

    It didn’t get moldy because fast food has very little water content and a whole lot of salt. Salt which kills and prevents microorganisms. Salt which has been used to preserve food since the dawning of civilization.

    The blogger even says the climate is arid. She wonders why there are no maggots. That’s because maggots don’t just materialize. A fly would’ve had to enter her office to lay them.

    I think people are just mystified as to how fast food can be so cheap and fast. There must be some trickery with the food. Actually it’s fast because the workers are fast, and it’s cheap because the workers are underpaid. But people are more concerned about their own personal health in eating the food than the health of the workers producing it.

    • peterbruells says:

      Are United Stares McD’s so much cheaper than in the rest of the world? Because “cheap” isn’t what comes to my mind when I think of McDonald’s.

      • johnnyaction says:

        At most US McDonalds you can get a McDouble ( a double cheesburger minus a slice of chese) for 1 dollar.. as well as a McChicken and a small fries for a dollar each.

        The only other nationwide US fast bio-mass that is comparably cheap is Taco Bell with their huge and cheap potato burritos with potatoes, red sauce and cheese for about a buck.

      • jackie31337 says:

        I can’t speak for the whole world, but I can confirm that McDonald’s in the US is much cheaper than in Finland. In the US, I believe you can get two Big Macs for $4 or $5. In Finland, a single Big Mac costs €3.95 (about $5.40). A happy meal in Finland costs €3.50, which makes it the cheapest fast food kid’s meal (Hesburger’s kid’s meal costs €5.20). At least for my family, fast food is a rare treat because it’s so expensive.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would have to second this. McDonald’s is fast because they have streamlined the burger making process. They cook the meat from both sides at the same time. They have everything lined up so that the employees don’t have to run back and forth to prepare a burger. Grab a bun, drop it down the vertical toaster, 5 seconds later it’s out and ready to be dressed. After condiments are added burger is added, wrapped, and done. A whole burger can probably be done in under 20 seconds by a quick employee. McDonald’s has this all figured out. Many other fast food joints take minutes to make a single burger, because they haven’t streamlined the process. This is why I still think McDonalds is the king of fast food. Because they have figured out how to make it fast.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Blah blah blah YUM it tastes good and is good if you exercise self-control. Newsflash: Don’t make a career out of eating it and get some exercise.

    Why in the heck can’t people hassle some one who DOESN’T care like Burger King? The last I heard they had deadly levels of trans-fats in their fries still (all it would take is a change in the oil it’s cooked in)??

    McDonald’s has been trying for years to try to sell healthier items, but guess what WE DON’T EAT THEM. McDonald’s never intended to become the fifth food group. Nor did they intend for kids to eat there more than they do at home. So go have a big Mac and get a life Joan.

    Also when were those Pet shop toys sold – I would be interested to know… as the grease doesn’t even appear to have gone through the fry wrapper.

  32. Counterglow says:

    To answer those questions about a “control burger”…

    I once forgot about half a homemade hamburger patty for quite a while. It was cooked at one of the last barbecues of the season in late August or early September. I found it just after Christmas while I was making room in the fridge for leftover turkey. When I moved a pickle jar, it saw its chance and went for my throat. The cold had slowed it down, fortunately, and I managed to evade its attack.

    The last I saw of it was when it left some green hairy stuff on the pet door during its escape. Oddly, we’ve had no skunk or raccoon problems in the neighborhood this year.

    • peterbruells says:

      The fridge is actually not a good place for long term storage for tons of fresh stuff. And some stuff shouldn’t even go in there, like decent camembert.

      • Counterglow says:

        True enough about the fridge.

        As for your remark about Camembert…I’ve got a really good market nearby, and I can’t recall ever having had a problem with cheese preservation; there’s so rarely any left over. Wine. Cheese. Ecstasy.

        • Gilbert Wham says:

          Wine. Cheese. Ecstasy.

          True, true. Mind you, I’ve always found that if I eat the ecstasy first, I’m no longer interested in the cheese…

  33. Sweet Zombie Jesus says:

    Somewhere there is a painting of a rotten happy meal.

  34. MarkVaughan says:

    The article makes it clear that the burger has dried out. You need moisture for food to rot and the burger she has taken pictures of doesn’t even have any condiments on it. Hell, it doesn’t even have slivered onions… It is dry as dust. It wouldn’t rot in a dry environment and the author points out that she lives in a very dry environment…
    This isn’t evidence of preservatives or non-nutritious food, just that dried food doesn’t go moldy!
    You can read more here: http://bit.ly/cEOB1T

  35. apoxia says:

    I’d just like to point out that the photo on this post is actually the “before” shot. The one year later shot looks a bit different and is viewable if you follow the link.

  36. yasth says:

    http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15210330 Main line food at MacDonalds is mainline priced. The happy meal has generally been a loss leader.

    As for the relative expensiveness I imagine part of that comes from the relatively higher household income.

  37. vellon says:

    If McDonald’s is “fake food” or a “food related product” what is the difference between McDonald’s and a normal hamburger? If I take a chunk of beef, grind it up, freeze it for a year and then cook it – what the fuck is the difference between that and a McDonald’s burger?

    This shit infuriates me so much.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Beef jerky is raw beef that has been dried, either out in the sun or in a spcially made contraption. Beef jerky will last for years without rotting. When you make jerky you have to trim the fat off because the fat does not dry as quickly and can cause it to turn rancid. Fast food burgers are made of ground beef so the fat gets mixed into the meat and if left out to dry will not turn rancid.

    All this woman did was make beef jerky.

    P.S. the captcha words for this comment are “Falsely” and “Ronald”! Who’s the wise guy?!?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Si las bacterias no se lo han comido yo no lo comería tampoco, con qué cosas raras la habrán hecho.

  40. Jeroen says:

    Only on year?
    Two years ago Cory posted about a burger 12 years old: http://boingboing.net/2008/09/25/immortal-mchorror-bu.html

  41. Nword says:

    What about the drink?

    I remember leaving cups of sugared substances for a week (or more).. they usually ended up with a nice carpet of mold on top.

  42. Chaplain ET says:

    Guess what? I expect the military to replace MRE’s with McDonald’s Happy Meals! Expect them to modify the toy, though, like a hand grenade, or something like that…

  43. jenjen says:

    I think preservatives will be vindicated in the end. If something is designed to keep fat from going bad, I NEED THAT.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t pretty much any cured food perform identically in this test?

  45. generalcalm says:

    Just thinking from McD’s point of view, given the size of the company, and the propensity for people to sue, I would imagine making the food as preservable as possible is high priority. Imagine the worldwide news when something strange is to be found growing on a burger for a company like this. Natural buns, meat etc has a relative short shelf life- making their ingredients the opposite would be a priority for a company so exposed to litigation.

    • peterbruells says:

      I’d ve very, very surprised if McDonald’s needs a high shelf live. They seem to have a pretty predictable business and it’s probably cheaper to clear out excess into the trash than to shelf it.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Is there any earlier pictures of the bread?

  47. syncrotic says:

    I’d no more expect a happy meal to grow mold and smell bad than I’d expect a bottle of canola oil to do the same. Virtually all of the water in the burger meat and fries was driven off as part of the cooking process and replaced by oil.

    Those oils can (and do) go rancid, and eating that would probably put you in a world of hurt.

    Combine that with the high salt content and the low humidity that others have mentioned and you get a meal that, at least superficially, still looks good enough to eat.

  48. Anonymous says:

    how about this?, my brother forgot 2 loaves of bread in his travel trailer,one Wonder bread, one local supermarket brand bakery. over the course of one winter in Southern Alberta, with its freeze/thaw cycle the bakery brand was one green mass of mold. The “Wonder” bread was still soft, no mold and just a bit hardened on the bottom. Would you still feed your children the WonderBread?

  49. jackie31337 says:

    I just noticed this part: “Picky eaters universally love junk foods. They won’t touch veggies and sometimes refuse to eat the food their moms prepare.”

    That’s a pretty sweeping statement to make. I would consider my daughter a picky eater in that she has a strong preference for certain foods and will not touch others. She does love some junk food, like potato chips, but many of her favorite foods (milk, tomatoes, tofu, real parmesan cheese) are not junk food at all. Her picky eating tends more toward texture, temperature, and preparation: she won’t eat cooked tomatoes, only raw ones, and she likes some dishes when they’ve just been prepared, but won’t eat them as reheated leftovers. Maybe the author has a different definition of picky eaters than I do.

    • starcadia says:

      Jackie, some people (like me) actually consider milk and cheese to be junk food, in that they are not fit for human consumption and are major contributors to an array of illnesses in our society.

  50. wavicle says:

    In New Zealand, big chain fast food (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc) is not cheap. A meal is around $10 NZ (around $7 US) in most of these places. For $10, I can have a much nicer meal from many low-end restaurants, especially the ones with lunch time specials. Even Japanese food, which seems to be expensive in other places.

    The big killer here is fish and chips take-away type places. For $3, you can get a whole lot of fries and a big piece of deep fried fish fillet. Probably not many preservatives, but lots of calories and very low nutritional content! Despite having all those preservatives, McDonald’s meals end up being much more healthy than this (provided you avoid the soda).

  51. Anonymous says:

    there’s an control experiment here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on6BSfHlK_w

  52. glaborous immolate says:

    bleached wheat flour: Natural, though the bleaching isn’t
    malted barley flour: natural
    niacin: a vitamin
    reduced iron: natural, a mineral
    thiamin mononitrate: a vitamin
    riboflavin: a vitamin
    folic acid: a vitamin
    enzymes: ??

    water: natural:
    high fructose corn syrup: natural (FDA)
    sugar: natural
    yeast: natural
    soybean oil: natural
    partially hydrogenated soybean oil: not great.

    salt: an INORGANIC CHLORINE COMPOUND THAT CAN KILL U!

    calcium sulfate: “Natural calcium sulfate (gypsum) and magnesium chloride (nigari) are the most common tofu coagulants used. They have been used for hundreds years in Japan and China. ”

    calcium carbonate, “Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an inexpensive dietary calcium supplement or antacid”

    wheat gluten: natural

    ammonium sulfate “Dough Strengtheners and Conditioners” (FDA) “The chemical provides nitrogen for the yeast, creating a more consistent product.”

    ammonium chloride (another yeast medium)

    dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour),

    ————-
    I got tired here. Maybe someone else can tell us why these are all fine. I’m wondering if these things are all in the yeast you might buy at the store anyway.

    calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives),

    soy lecithin: natural

  53. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if this is related to Beef Products, Inc. and their ammonia injection process? According to Wikipedia, BPI provides McD’s burgers.

  54. dainel says:

    Food does not break down by itself. Just because you don’t see the bacteria does not mean they are not there. The whole “experiment” is flawed because it starts from this wrong assumption.

    If the cook has dirty hands (eg doubles up as cashier, handles money, and never wash his hands), his burgers will rot faster. It does not mean they’re better for you to eat.

  55. Matt Deckard says:

    I’m with the skeptics. Honey can last millenia in a dry climate without spoiling, so it must be even worse than Happy Meals then? There are plenty of perfectly healthy foods that can last over a year without spoiling. This isn’t science, it’s just stupid propaganda. There are enough valid reasons not to like McDonald’s: their foods are super high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat.

    • peterbruells says:

      Oh, they did not claim that it hasn’t spoiled. It probably spoiled a couple of days into the experiment, it just didn’t decompose. No wonder, as the two are no the same.

      They skip over that, preferring to lead the casual reader to a wrong conclusion.

      „Good Stuff decomposes, this one doesn’t, therefore it must be bad stuff.“

      I think that’s a dishonest tactic and a bad one as well, since anyone who ever *eats* a Happy Meal (bland and boring as they are) will certainly learn for himself, that it provides nutrition w/out him keeling over.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Then I dare you to have a nibble?!?

  57. zikman says:

    truly a timeless classic.

  58. pendraphen says:

    I don’t think the people arguing against this article are saying that eating McDonald’s is good for you, and neither do I think that they are endorsing that people should eat at McDonald’s. What’s being discussed is the relevance and significance of the original post (or, rather, the total lack of either).

  59. Anonymous says:

    Maybe this food is so bad so even bacterias and fungus don’t dare to touch it.

  60. jake99 says:

    I can do the same thing with fruit and my dehydrator. I challenge anyone who has all this time on their hands to purchase a FRESH Happy Meal, put it in a large zip lock bag and see how long it lasts. Most people should know by now that mold and mildew need moisture to grow. Most dried out food will not mold or rot. This whole experiment was a HOAX against McDonald’s.

  61. pendraphen says:

    For all the crap that McDonald’s gets for being the face of fast food, I’ve read two articles over the past month along the lines of “Eat This, Not That,” where the writers examined the healthiest fast food French fries and the healthiest fast food chicken nuggets. Both times, McDonald’s was the top winner.

    Of course, being the best of the fast food restaurants is a dubious honor, and most of the crap that McDonald’s gets is justified, but it’s not the horrible “notfood” restaurant that everyone seems quick to label.

  62. Anonymous says:

    after reviewing a few posts on various social networks, including most recently a news-article about mcdonalds burgers not going bad, we decided to do a test of our own. 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.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Cool – but gross at the same time. I remember as a kid putting my bowl of half eaten ice cream in the sink (imagine that!) — and seeing it undissolved the next morning. I never ate that fake crap again, what – with saw dust particles in it or some such. (Hey, I’m getting old) — only if it had really sunk in and I never ate half the sh** I have. Ah – hind site… :D

  64. princeminski says:

    What attracts so many humorless people to BoingBoing? Must be that real science.

  65. Moriarty says:

    Put your mouth where your mouth is. Eat it, and then tell me it lasts forever.

    • cycle23 says:

      “Put your mouth where your mouth is. Eat it, and then tell me it lasts forever.”

      I think you meant something else, but I interpreted this along the lines of something that Will Farrell’s Harry Caray character would utter and lol’d.

      “If you were a dehydrated Happy Meal, and you ate yourself, would you be Happy?”

  66. Anonymous says:

    It’ll look about the same after 2 years, we left a McDonald’s cheeseburger in a kitchen cabinet for 2.5 years at one point to see what would happen and got the same result. Except for the bun being crusty, we saw no mold, noticed no funky odors, and the cheese still had that fresh-from-the-counter glisten to it. Nobody would eat it though, so can’t speak to that angle.

  67. pyster says:

    I am glad there are voices of reason here that have pointed out this experiment is completely bogus and the conclusions trying to be drawn are bogus. It’s the kinda dishonesty people should be kicked in the nuts for.

    The burger dehydrated…. Its the same science that allows use to eat pizza or a sandwich that has been in the fridge for a month with no ill effects.

    Has anyone ever had an orange dehydrate on them? I mean a whole orange. I’ve come to recognize the appearance of oranges that are good candidates for this. I’ve had them dehydrate on my work monitor and in my fridge.

    Chances are you can eat that burger and fries with no ill effects… The organisms that traditionally attack these products dont leave behind nasty poisons in their waste (tho not so traditional ones can). Now, if there had been mayo on it, or wet mushrooms I would worry. When some bacteria metabolize these their waste material is hazardous to ones health long after the bacteria is dead and gone.

  68. glaborous immolate says:

    So are people actually claiming there is some magic ingredient in the food that keeps it from decomposing?

    And that McDonald’s is lying when they say they just use 100% beef with some salt and pepper in cooking?

    Couldn’t someone find out what this is, and, like, report on it?

    • fannerz says:

      Actually, yes. They are lying. 100% Pure Beef is a trademark name owned by Macdonald’s.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Actually, yes. They are lying. 100% Pure Beef is a trademark name owned by Macdonald’s.”

        True… but it’s still 100% pure beef. If I sell organic apples, can’t I name my company “100% Organic Apples”?

        Just read the nutrition lable to see if/why a dose is bad for you.

  69. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the price of McD’s in Finland and elsewhere, bear in mind that even though they’re a US Restaurant chain, McD’s has to comply by the stricter (and healthier) standards in place in other countries. for example, the countries of the EU currently won’t accept American beef with hormones, and there are various laws in place regarding GMO crops (such as Monsanto RoundupReady Potatoesâ„¢). Not to mention the absolute joke that is the USDA’s meat inspection system.

    So that Happy Mealâ„¢ in Finland might be more expensive, but its probably a little bit healthier as well (relatively speaking, obviously its still fast food in the end).

  70. igpajo says:

    I’m kind of in awe at some of the comments on the BabyBites website:

    “If food doesn’t break down naturally on the shelf, how in the world does anybody think it’s going to decompose in their child’s stomach?”
    and…
    “If it doesn’t decompose then what nutrients can be extracted from it?”

  71. Anonymous says:

    I’ll eat it for a quarter.

  72. Anonymous says:

    The Hood Diet y’all..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5FeNkRGiWg

    ..check it out and pass along.

  73. Jeffrey Polsky says:

    What an interesting experiment! It is great that you gave the Happy Meal a nonna hug–it really is–but what I think it really deserves and needs for its first unbirthday is a Twinkie. Please give it a Twinkie.

  74. Anonymous says:

    i dont know why , but i like this food! :)

  75. Anonymous says:

    I’m assuming the drink is empty? The cups just don’t last that long :(

  76. Bender says:

    Food photography of a sort is a big part of my work, and like many others have mentioned, this food is simply dried out. Most food just shrivels up in a dry environment with no bugs. Fruit and veggies will ripen and look bad, but breads, meat, and most other things will just sit there and not go through too many changes.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting. if microbes won’t even eat it, then how can it possibly be any good for humans to eat. I’m just 14 and I can figure that out. ^_^

  78. MarkVaughan says:

    Okay, I have finally gotten around to a more scientific investigation into this claim that fast food doesn’t rot. You can follow it here: http://youarenotafitperson.com/2010/05/01/does-fast-food-rot/
    I think when the food is actually present with moisture, it will rot… It appears a lot of people don’t share this opinion though…

  79. tsdguy says:

    I don’t buy this for a minute. The burger has catchup, mustard and so that’s plenty of moisture to start molding. Even products with additives to retard spoilage will eventually start to mold. The soda has sugars (even diet) which promote bacterial growth.

    I’m sure I could devise a method to bring the moisture content of the burger down to a level that prevents mold but that’s dishonest. And I bet the cup is empty.

    COS (crock o’ sh*t)

    • peterbruells says:

      After a year, the cup will certainly be empty. Probably much faster, considering that we are talking Colorado.

      It’s all a matter off how fast it dries – I’ve had mummified mice under my bed, even in wet Northern Germany.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ketchup and mustard don’t list water as ingredients. The moistness comes from vinegar, which is a great cleaning agent and tends to …y’know.. pickle things. Preserves them, if you will.
      This is why you can keep an opened container of mustard in the fridge for a year without spoilage.

  80. Anonymous says:

    If you read the site, she actually restarted her experiment after realizing that condiments and the pickle would probably cause it to go bad.

  81. cmuwriter says:

    I can tell you that a McDonalds cup with liquid in it will not last more than six months. My college roommate bed would leave half full cups all over his computer desk. They would develop leaks in six months, with one leaking all over his computer and nearly starting a fire.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I do do it at home, just like our ancestors did thousands of years ago and like many people of the world still do. You can’t dry out a thick piece of meat, you have to cut it thin. About as thin as, oh, a happy meal patty.

  83. tamar says:

    Joann, please watch Super Size Me.

    (Yes, I know other commenters already made this point.)

  84. Anonymous says:

    When I went over to Europe I was shocked at the fast food prices. Also, the price of a sup of Starbucks was obscene. A grande regular coffee in the US is usually $1.89. In Switzerland it was CHF 4.50, which is about $4.25. Yikes.

    I went into a Burger King looking for a coke. CHF 4.00. Ridiculous.

    I Germany a Big Mac meal with fries and a drink was € 5.35, about $7.50 at the exchange rate of the time. I could go across the street and get a HUGE plate of awesome schnitzel and spätzle for maybe a Euro more.

  85. @cecycorrea says:

    It came with a Littlest Pet Shop toy! Can I has it? :P

  86. Anonymous says:

    “(Okay, maybe my sanity is in question.)”

    Well, yeah – yours and everybody’s who eats at fast food joints. But then again, it’s rapidly becoming impossible to eat real healthy food unless it’s from your own garden and livestock. In a country where the FDA lets corporations inject chlorine into chicken and ammonia into beef, using poisons to kill contaminants, maybe fast food isn’t such a bad choice after all.

  87. Aloisius says:

    Super Size Me taught me that it is really the fries that kill you. Well, fries and sugared soda. Eating two hamburgers for most of your life? No effect whatsoever.

  88. Anonymous says:

    This not surprising since there’s no actually FOOD in it!
    So glad I’m vegan!

  89. Anonymous says:

    McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants use a slurry of meat that is processed with AMMONIA. Amonia… you know… the stuff you used to clean toilets with??!!

    Amonia… kills bacteria, so maybe we should put it in our food. yum… http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html?_r=1&hp

    • octopod says:

      more worryingly, they use water. a chemical which makes up about half of adult human body weight, and is also used in toilets. also kittens and puppies both die when immersed in it.
      science is just awesome, but rly.

  90. Axe7540 says:

    According to the McDonalds website burgers are “cooked straight on the grill with no fat or oil”. They use 100% USDA beef raised in the USA etc.

    I’m no fan of McDonalds because of the calories,cholesterol etc. but anyone thinking the burger they are cooking at home is any different from the one McDonalds sells from a nutritional perspective is wrong. The only exception are those eating grass fed organic meat.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Still got nothing on a big kahoona burger

  92. Phikus says:

    So I wonder what exactly is the half-life of a Happy Meal(tm)?

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