McDonalds and the Burgers That Will Not Rot - Internet/Facebook Rumour

23 Apr 2012 - Article No: 1540. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour




Our fast "food" display is now 2 years old. The word food is questionable, since the bread-like and meat-like substances have not molded or spoiled in any way. Bugs won`t even bother with it. Please think twice about giving this to your kids. You have a choice, but they don`t. We truly are what we eat.


Another prolific source of rumours and hearsay regarding popular fast food chain McDonalds is the persistent assertion that their products do not decompose despite being left for a prolonged period of time, sometimes even years. Many rumours continue that this refusal to decompose highlights the extent to which McDonalds products are non-nutritional and unfit for human consumption.

Just like the message and picture above which in 2012 has circulated across Facebook, Twitter and Google+, many of these rumours use various experiments to "prove" the claims made in the messages.

Just like the picture in the example above - that shows 4 burgers and a notice stating they were purchased in April 2010 - there is little reason to doubt the authenticity of the rumour and the messages. In fact many others have tried and successfully proven that McDonalds products do not rot, including the popular 2004 movie "SuperSize Me" by Morgan Spurlock and the case of the 180-day old Happy Meal experiment by photographer Sally Davies. All of these studies all successfully showed that burgers from McDonalds showed no signs of decomposition even after being left for months or years.

However many of these rumours wrongly jump to the conclusion that this lack of decomposition is caused by copious amounts of preservatives and other nefarious chemicals found lurking in the burgers which make them especially unhealthy and thus should be avoided. Some rumours even [falsely] claim that materials such as plastics can be found in the burgers!

However many other more scientifically-based studies using control and comparative variables suggest that the reason why McDonalds burgers do not rot is due to their relatively small size and large surface area, which means the burgers dry out quickly, and since mold cannot survive without moisture then the burger will not decompose.
This is backed up by one popular study from SeriousEats.com which tested not only a McDonalds burger but other types of burgers including ones with the same dimensions as a McDonalds burger. The study found that all small burgers that dried out quickly would not decompose at all, not just burgers from McDonalds. The burgers would in one sense become mummified and thus would not rot.

The study continued by locking another sample of burgers in air-tight bags in order to preserve the moisture thus creating an environment for mold to grow, and alas mold did grow on the burgers, including those from McDonalds.

So whilst photos and rumours of studies about non-decomposing burgers from McDonalds may be genuine, this fact does not highlight that burgers from McDonalds are specifically non-nutritional or bad for you.

Of course none of this is to say that McDonalds burgers are good for you, either. McDonalds burgers are still classed as "fast food" and, nutritionists agree, should ideally only be consumed sparingly in conjunction with a varied and healthy diet.

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