McDonald's Burger Left for Two Weeks

April 5, 2010   114 Comments

After 11 days of sitting at room temperature in a Ziploc bag, this is the photo of the 2 burgers. Obviously, the one on the right is the homemade burger and the one on the left is the McDonald's cheeseburger.

Cheeseburger take 2 day 11

The McDonald's burger was purchased about 30 minutes before I made the control burger. See the original post:

The Tale of Two Burgers: The Beginning

Two close-ups: 11 day old McDonald's cheeseburger


This cheeseburger smells the same as when it was purchased. When opened - it showed no signs of decomposition. I will continue to post photos every Saturday on its progress (or lack there of).

11 day old homemade cheeseburger


This cheeseburger had to be tossed out because it smelled really bad.

Why didn't the McDonald's cheeseburger rot?

My answer is simple. It isn't food. Here is the definition of food:

any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.

Where I get stuck is the word nourishing. If bacteria or fungi aren't interested in "eating" this cheeseburger, how can it be nourishing to human beings?

On a personal note, I used to eat fast food regularly. My university was across the street from a McDonald's and my home in San Francisco was about 100 yards from a Burger King.

I'm not sure when exactly it was, but I starting getting bad stomach aches whenever I ate a cheeseburger from a fast food venue. My stomach just couldn't handle the food. At first, I thought it was because of the grease. But, I can eat other really fatty things without a stomach ache.

Maybe I am getting stomach aches because my body cannot DIGEST this burger. If bacteria from the air can't digest the McD's cheeseburger in 11 days - how is my intestinal bacteria (along with stomach acids) supposed to digest it in 24 hours? Just a thought.

I am asking Micheal Pollan and someone at McDonald's to discuss this experiment with us. I don't know if either will reply - but if we cause enough of a ruckus - I believe we can get some answers.

Last week's Tostitos post must have bugged Frito-Lay, a dietician that works for them contacted me.

Please forward this blog post to your friends via FaceBook, Twitter, and/or e-mail.

Every school science class can do this experiment for $3, and I think it is worth doing. We need to discuss this "food" with our children and our families and decide how it contributes to our overall health.

Other posts you might like:


Stanford University Scientist Comments On Burger Experiment

Last week's post on the rotting cheeseburger has created controversy here on Snack-Girl. If you didn't see it check it out here McDonald's Burger Left for Two Weeks....


What Happens When You Mix Pepsi and a Hard Boiled Egg?

Most of the discussion on drinking soda has focused on high fructose corn syrup and its detrimental effects on blood sugar and weight. But, what about your teeth?...

Here is the ingredients of the cheeseburger via McDonald's website:


100% Beef Patty, Regular Bun, Pasteurized Process American Cheese, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickle Slices, Onions

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

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.

Pasteurized Process American Cheese:
Milk, water, milkfat, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt, citric acid, sorbic acid (preservative), sodium phosphate, artificial color, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, soy lecithin (added for slice separation).

Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, water, corn syrup, salt, natural flavors (vegetable source).

Distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, spice extractive.

Pickle Slices:
Cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, potassium sorbate (preservative), natural flavors (plant source), polysorbate 80, extractives of turmeric (color).

Chopped onions.

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Oh god! This really creeped me out! I want to know how this ends.

Wow...that's...eww! I used to eat fast food all the time as well. My mom used to bring it home 2 to 3 nights a week when I was growing up. Now that I've weened myself off of it, I can't even think about eating it anymore without feeling a tummy ache coming on.

I am most grossed out by the bun and meat not decomposing. WHY AREN'T THEY?!?!?! All I can think of is there is so much preservative in them the bacteria can't break them down. When the bun ingredients say '2% or less of the following', does that mean total as ingredients or per each ingredient? There are at least 10 ingredients following that statement(counting the dough conditioners as just 1). Does that mean 2% or up to 20% of the bun contains those ingredients?

I get stomach aches too when I eat this stuff and I also used to attribute it to grease. Time to re-evaluate big-time!!

GROSS GROSS GROSS!! No more McD's anything for my family ever again! I makes me mad to think of all the kids that will eat these burgers for dinner tonight.

Very interesting...Based on this, is it any wonder that American's have so many health issues?

I'll be sure to let me readers know about this.

Thank you,
Ken Leebow
Feed Your Head

Thank you so much for doing this, Lisa. I am so appreciative of your efforts to shine the bright light on what we have turned to as "nutrition" within our unhealthy habits and diets. Brava, lady. You Rock!

Wow oh wow. This is disgusting! Really truly something to think about - and I'm staying far away from McD's. Far Far Away! I agree with Laura about there being too much preservative in them to break the hamburger down. It's akin to eating plastic. ICK!

I LOVE this post! Fast food is literally killing Americans, yet it is portrayed as being good for you and budget conscious. The average American is totally unaware of the reprecussions of what they put in their mouths, and as the saying goes, "You are what you eat" is so true. I can't tell you how many mothers tell me their kids are sick after eating out at fast food places. You are right, it is not real food in many cases!

We must educate ourselves and question everything, just like you did with Tistitos. The companies may not like it, but the truth hurts...our health!! Keep it up and behind you 100%.

Is this just MCDs cheeseburgers that do this? Have you tried it with say...Hardees or Checkers or Sonics?

I only tried McD's because it is near my house. But, maybe, we should try all of them - it would be fascinating to see if some was real food vs. others.

And, thanks for the love!!! Lisa

I would LOVE to see how the other major fast food chains compare too. This is pretty gross. I don't eat McDonald's anymore (it was never all that tasty, but now I can't due to a gluten-free diet), but this definitely inspires me to continue to limit my processed food intake. Gross.

I'm not too surprised the bun isn't decomposing, but what about the meat? It claims to be "100% beef"... Maybe it has something to do with the fact that ground beef is "cleaned" with ammonia (YUCK!!!) in an attempt to kill the E. Coli.

I can't helo put thinking of a food science professor who told us to "buy the ugliest food". She meant food should age, show signs of wear and tear and not look perfect. Your McDonalds burger looks so perfectly ageless I want to throw up. Keep the important posts coming. I will post this one for sure.

I don't want to be accused of supporting McDonalds by any stretch, but I'm more interested in the breakdown of the meat itself rather than your bread. We all did the mold experiment in fourth grade and learned that wheat bread molds and decomposes faster than white bread and homemade bread more so than store-bought bread. It seems to me that what we're looking at and reacting too is mold accumulating on your bread faster than the mcdonald's bun. What's the condition of the meat? Sadly we won't know because you threw out your burger.

I think the bun's an interesting observation, but I'm more interested in the condition and quality of the food overtime versus the bun and how it compares to your burger.

I have been a healthy eater for most of my life, particularly my adult life. I run marathons, don't eat very much processed food, etc etc. About 5 years ago when a family member of mine was in a horrific car accident I was in a small town and I couldn't go very far from the hospital. We drove around and were "stuck" getting some fast food. I tried to get the "healthiest" thing on the menu that would be somewhat filling, it was a non-fried chicken sandwich.

I got sick almost immediately. Terrible stomach and intestinal pains and had to run to the bathroom if you catch my drift. I didn't feel better until it was no longer in my body. I don't think my body recognized it as food. I had eaten very occasional fast food as a child and been okay, but this was the first fast food I had had in years. It was terrible. I haven't touched a fast food meal since then.

Summary: Not food.

Tom, If you look closely at the meat on the homemade burger you can see a fuzz - which I believe is fungi. The burger smelled like rotten meat - and perhaps I could have cut it open to photograph its' degradation - but trust me it was in bad shape. The McD's meat is not degraded at all - still looks exactly the same and I will photograph it. You will have to trust me - the meat itself was rotting. Lisa

I was wondering what the Tostito's dietician had to say, can someone get this info to me?

I just ate a BK Veggie burger last night and had the most terrible stomach ache. I have eaten these before, not very often, but what do you think about these?


i hope Pollan and McD's respond...also would like to hear the response from the FritoLay dietician!

great work!!!

Ironically, I just ate a McDonald's cheeseburger today. Luckily, I don't do it very often, but I feel like I should print the first photo out and keep it in my car to look at every time I get an urge for McDonald's.

11 days? I heard a story of a traveling nutrition expert that gives speeches/lectures and what not to children. His favorite prop? A McD's hamburger he purchased in 1998.

This is disgusting and I truly believe the argument that McDonalds is not real food. However, what is difference in the homemade burger. Doesn't the meat we buy at the grocery store (unless specifically grass fed "natural/organic") come from the same (4?) big producers? Specifically, the focus of the movie Food Inc. What kind of meat did you purchase?

Hi Kala, I bought my meat from Stop-n-Shop - 80/20 ground beef - yes it could have been the same producers - but I didn't salt it (preservative) like McD's. I chose to do this because it is what most Americans would use for a homemade burger.

What if it's because you have a dirtier kitchen than the McDonalds? Or that McDonald's cooked at a higher temp than you did? Playing devil's advocate against a good idea that was executed in a flawed laboratory.

Steve, As a trained scientist, I know it is really flawed -BUT - the air is full of fungal spores and surfaces have bacteria - no matter how much you clean them. There are sterile hoods in laboratories and I guess I could have cooked my burger in one. Both burgers sat out in my house for the same amount of time before I placed them in a bag. My bread was baked that morning and my burger was well done (lots of heat to kill bacteria). I handled both burgers with clean hands. I REALLY think that the McD's burger should have rotted at the same pace if it had something desirable for fungi and/or bacteria to munch on.

nice! not really shocking though...down with franchise foodstuffs! :)

i'm 6 years on the wagon myself :)

So what? Of course fresh baked bread rotted right away. That's why the McDonald's buns have calcium propionate and sodium propionate "to protect against mold." Think of it this way, if there were no preservatives used in our food, then there would be billions of dollars in perished foods and millions more starving throughout the world. We are lucky enough to be able to choose.

I see some talking about the bun not doing anything and what the bun has in it.. Mcdonalds does not make there buns. They get there buns from Wonder? Sara Lee? or somewhere like that.. so the buns are probley just like the bread your eating everyday..

@Maurice - it is truly nonsense to claim that millions more people would be starving without preservatives. First, because a larger percentage of humanity is going hungry now than ever before in human history. And second, because this "food" is not nourishing to the human animal. Further, most countries with the highest levels of starvation also have plenty of arable land on which to grow their own local food, so there is no need to ship them highly preserved toxic nonfoods.

Its funny because there are so many preservatives in a fast food burger. My ex was helping cleaning his co-workers car, they had found a burger that apparently was sitting there for months and it looked the same as when he first bought it.

I have four grown kids. Have you ever found a french fry from McDonalds that has been under a seat in the car (for a long time, kids don't just drop them in the floorboard). As I remember, none of them ever had mold on them nor did they smell bad. They were hard , but they kind of looked the same. I just figured McDonalds had corned the market on preservatives :-)

As a sidebar, McDonald's (MCD) stock is at an all-time high - 68.03. And, it pays a nice dividend. So, it appears most people must be lovin' it.

Just further proof that Mrs. Obama, Jamie Oliver, and others who are "fighting the good fight", might need to fight a little harder.

Ken Leebow

We don't eat, nor have we ever eaten, McDs in our house. But I truly am curious how they can run those campaigns where they say their burgers are made from 100% natural ingredients. I know the word "natural" means nothing but still, how is that not illegal to make everyone assume that they are naturally made?? It's impossible that this burger is just 100% beef...

Well, I believe the ammonia they add to meat isn't even required to be considered an ingredient, so they can probably say "natural" even if it contains ammonia!

Wow. That's crazy! For the next picture, can you lift up the bun so we can see that pitiful patty? lol

Not sure why this is so hard to believe but to the naysayers, why don't you watch Super Size me? They did the same experiment with a burger and order of fries from McDs and another burger and fries from a local burger joint that makes their stuff fresh. Same result.

If I may quote the sensei from the old Karate Kid movie, "they call it fast food because it speeds you on your way to a quick death."

it's not necessarily the grease that causes the indigestion from eating this garbage, it's the preservatives. all that added stuff is not meant to be broken down or stored by the human body. yuck! stick to whole/raw, unprocessed foods as much as possible!

Will you please investigate Panda Express? Too many ppl eat there. It's so disgusting.

What about the ingredients to your burger? Where are they listed? What kind of bread is that, cheese, etc. It's actually a very flawed experiment, because there are so many variables that could cause the 2 to deteriorate at such different rates.

Truly sickening. This is disgusting. Why would someone want to put this into their body willingly?! That is just proof that it really isn't food. And, by the way, I like that you posted the definition of food. I think a lot of people don't realize that half of the things they eat are actually not food at all.

Great experiment.

sadly, your test and definition are critically flawed. not to defend junk food, but it does still provide some energy and nutrients, yoru definition doesn't say it can'd contain other things. celery with it's marginal nutrients is still a food it provides water and fiber. AN unwashed carrot from my garden is still food even though it has dirt on it. just because something has an additive that's less healthy does not make it "not food".

all you've proved is that unsalted meat rots, non-anti-microbial bread gets moldy, and your kitchen isn't sterile.

in this test you took a burger prepared in a commercial kitchen that's been engineered over decades to remove any possibility of pathogens and is sterilized several times daily, is wrapped in a bun that contains preservatives that discourage microbial growth, a cheese that is almost plastic (look up milk plastic) and a burger that's for all practical purposes salted (as in preserved) and you compared it to something prepared in your own kitchen from store bought goods that are not representative of the materials in the fast food burger. you also neglect to list your ingredients or process. for all we know your stove has a down draft hood that pulled lots of pathogens and air over the burger or you prepared it by an open window.

all this shows is that your kitchen (as most are unless you're seriously ocd and germophobic) is not as clean as a commercial kitchen, you didn't salt your patty which is thicker and handled by you, and that bread without preservatives molds.

if you want a real experiment that proves your point, buy prepackaged buns w/o preservatives, american cheese slices, burgers of a similar form factor, salt the dickens out of em as you fry them on a flat top, and then irradiate both sets of food (you need to do hundreds for a real comparison) to kill all pathogens IN the food, leave them out for 30 minutes, and then let them sit for a week. better still, leave some open, leave some sealed from radiation....

All these people claiming that this "test" is invalid are crazy. When or where is it okay for an 11-day-old hamburger to look fresh as the day it was made? It doesn't matter how her homemade hamburger was made. The preservatives in that McD's hamburger are not necessary and are very likely not good for you. Like many say, if you can't buy an ingredient in the store, you really shouldn't eat it (I've never seen a container of propianate in my life). I think Snack Girl's conclusion is right on: if the bugs won't eat it, neither should you. I would definitely be interested to see if other fast food brands' burgers rot as well - maybe that's your "valid" test to silence the skeptics: a line up of fast food burgers (I would assume that at least one of them will rot, if not it just confirms that fast food is bad for you, period).

Where is the science in this? Let's look at her methods. First, you don't use one sample as a data point. Why not do several homemade burgers and several McDonalds burgers? From different places, and different breads and meat? Second, look at the pictures. Look at what's so gross. Mold growth. This tells me that it's very likely that the bread she used was contaminated with mold from the outset. If she made that burger with different bread, in fact say, a different brand, or even a hamburger bun, it would probably not be so moldy. In fact this tells me that contrary to her conclusions, the McDonalds burger was less contaminated to begin with. Have you ever bought bread and it's moldy in a week? And then bought similar bread and had it be fine for weeks? That's because it was contaminated to begin with. Also, she pointed out that "bacteria in the air" causes the hamburger to decompose. This could not be more wrong. What causes it to decompose is all on the burger to begin with. The preservatives in the McDonald's burger may or may not have caused a lack of mold growth, but we will never know because the experiment was terribly done. Sorry to sound preachy but THIS is why children don't understand science today. She recommends that every school classroom does this experiment. I would agree, it would be a great way to show false conclusions. Those of you denying this may want to brush up on science yourself. Conclusion does not come before hypothesis.

For what it's worth, here's someone who did it for a year . . . - You might want to check it out.

I would try the experiment, but I don't eat fast-food. And, when I pass by Mickey-Dees the line is too long. I ain't waiting on that line.

So, thank you Lisa for demonstrating this for us.

Ken Leebow

@metis @BadScience: The hypothesis of this experiment was that food would rot. The home made burger is the control and it did rot as we expected. The surprise finding is that the McDonalds cheese burger did not rot.

Perhaps we should buy another McDonalds cheeseburger and sneeze on the bun and the patty then put it in a ziplock bag and see what happens. Another idea would be to put a piece of moldy bread in the bag with the McDonalds cheeseburger.

If you have suggestions for a follow-up experiment which we can easily do at home we would welcome hearing them.

No surprise here--I have a friend who does nutrition presentations, and she has a McDonald's burger and fries from 2006... and they STILL look the same! SO gross! If you're interested in improving your health and nutrition:

can we see the email that the "dietician" sent you?

This doesn't surprise me. A couple years ago I was completely grossed out when one of my friends found a McDonald burger under his bed, still wrapped up, and said he "couldn't remember the last time he went to McDonalds", and when he unwrapped it it looked as if it were cooked that day. I'm sorry but to the people saying this experiment is invalid...even if it were...would YOU eat a burger that looks EXACTLY the same after a couple weeks...couple months? I would hope to God not.

Wow, I'm surprised at all the negativity that some people are throwing at snack girl. Sure the home made burger may not have been cooked in a sterlie environment but it doesn't change the fact that ANY prepared food left out for 11 days should have mold growing on it regardless of where it was cooked.

I'm sure her home kithen wasn't very sterile, but I'm sure Mickey D's is just as dirty or more likely DIRTIER! And the cooks hands probably weren't as clean as Snack Girl's! I see all these people debunking her experiment this way and that, SO LET'S SEE YOU EAT THE 11+ DAY OLD BURGER!

"My bread was baked that morning"

After reading this quote, I could have told you how this experiment would go. There's no control here.

There's lots of factors that contribute to bread mold, but the perfect environment was created for it when the homemade burger was shoved in a plastic bag while it was still warm and moist and -- preservative-free.

You're always going to have a different result when you put homemade bread in the same environment as store bought bread.

Would anyone be shocked to find their favorite premium brand of uber-healthy multi-grain bread to be mold free after 11 days?

Would that mean it too is not food?

Great post. Ive gone totally organic with my veggies as well as with my meats and eggs. Ive also switched to totally ras dairy... what a SHOCK to my system... I feel so mucn better and have tons of energy. I've easily lost 50 lbs and I owe it all to no longer eating processed foods or grains, yes Sean even your so-called uber-healthy again so called multi grain bread.

Look, I am 58 years old and have been eating McDonalds for years. I also eat Taco bell, and about every other fast food there is out there. I agree that their kitchens and ingredients are clean and the preservatives not that big of a deal. It seams like all the health nuts I know who proclaim their superior way of eating is the only way to live are no healthier than anyone else. If fact I can think of several friends of mine who subscribe to "healthy eating' and they have as many or more health problems than others I know. Get off your soap box and have a burger. When was the last time the health department came to your house and inspected it? Get a life!


Just because you are have been eating fast food your entire life does not mean you are healthy, that it is doing you any good, or that you feel as good as you may if you did not put all of the artificial stuff in your body. That's not to say you may not feel better, but there's always that possibilty.

As a whole, over time, humans are getting less healthy... Look at the obesity rate skyrocketing, diabetes? Cancer? All things that are increasing in frequency. Why? Because of the new "technology" (aka preservatives and fillers, additives) that are NOT NATURAL. I cut out a lot of artificial crap recently and instantly felt better. My energy is back, I feel happier, and more motivated and my gastrointestinal issues are slowly going away.

Also, have any of you haters ever worked in a restaurant or fast food place? I have- all through high school and I served in bars, locally owned, and chain restaurants all through college. They are generally NOT clean, people do NOT wash their hands, and I don't even want to talk about some of the other things I've seen go on. I can almost guarantee Snack Girl's kitchen was cleaner.

So, maybe her experiment was flawed, but the fact is that I would not want to eat a piece of meat with cheese and other condiments that generally need refrigerated that had been sitting out for 11 days. Or even two days, or one.

A friend did this same experiment many years ago with something from, I think, Burger King. Everyone looked at the burger with it's nice golden bun and brown meat. When they touched it, it was hard as a rock. It was June. The buger was purchased the winter before.

@Kelsey, no one would eat that burger after 11 days knowingly, except maybe on a dare. I really doubt that's relevant to anyone's criticism of the experiment. Back to the topic:

The question: Why didn't McD's hamburger rot?

The answer offered: It isn't food.

Something not rotting doesn't make it "not food." Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Lots of things rot you wouldn't eat, and vice versa. I can bake a loaf of bread that won't mold after 11 days, that would be tasty and healthy too.

Let's take for example Swiss cheese. It's resistant to mold. Does it fall into the category of "not food"? No ... it contains preservatives. It contains them by being Swiss cheese. It's a by-product of one of the bacteria. Without its presence, it's not Swiss cheese.

Now, why do I go on about Swiss cheese's naturally present preservatives?

Because it's the same preservative that's put in McD's bun, which is not present, generally, in homemade breads.

So everyone who answered "preservative" -- that would be the correct answer.

There are many, many reasons why McD's isn't the healthy choice, but "rot vs. not" isn't a good litmus test to determine how healthy/edible any particular food might be.

The source that was handy for me at the moment:

Taking the fear out of eating: a nutritionists' guide to sensible food choices

Charlette Gallagher
Cambridge University Press
Page 149

It's been kind of surreal watching some of the people on here playing these games with semantics. First of all, snack girl didn't say this was a "scientific" study. Second, I don't think when she said the "food" at McDonalds "isn't food," most of those who criticized her probably knew exactly what she was saying. Sure, McDonalds "food" is edible and originally came from natural sources. But once you've added such a high level of chemicals and preservatives, surely it cannot be considered a "whole food" or "nutritious." If a "food" is more dangerous than safe for our bodies, does it deserve to be called food at all??? I don't think this was ever meant to be a scientific argument - though I could be wrong. My personal preference when referring to this type of processed edible garbage is "toxic nonfoods." Not as a scientific term, but as a reminder about exactly what this crap is. This is NOT FOOD in the strictest sense. Paper is EDIBLE, but it is NOT FOOD. Nor is a white flour bun - stripped of all of the nutrition of whole grains and then crammed full of preservatives and chemicals your body does not recognize as food - FOOD.

Finally, it is absolutely hilarious that anyone would argue that McDonalds and other highly processed toxic nonfoods are not "bad for you." Ridiculous. You like science so much? Virtually every single scientific study done in the last 20 years has shown the harmful effects of eating fast food and the standard american diet (high fat, high animal protein, low fiber, low fruit/vegetable) - as well as the opposite as it pertains to a plant-based diet of whole unprocessed foods. Doctors are saying they are seeing childhood type 2 diabetes in the first significant numbers EVER - wholly because adults are literally poisoning children with this diet. This isn't some kind of joke or game with semantics - this is the real life situation for millions of kids around this country.

Who cares! it tastes good i am going to eat it!

Obviously mainly everyone who reads what (snack girl) writes are healthly eatting people. never ate a bad thing in their life! I mean lets get on with the issue of a freaking hotdog?! lol what are they "really" made out of lol.IF we take out all the bad food we eat i dont think there be much food left i would like! lol

Awesome! Now I don't have to waste space in my fridge anymore. Also, since it will be at room temperature, they'll reheat quicker. BONUS!

Hey Chris? No one said you had to eat anything in particular (or NOT eat it, for that matter). If you want to eat McDonald's, knock yourself out. As you point out, this site is for people who DO care about what they're eating and DO care about their health. If you want to eat a bunch of junk, go look at the recipes on the Pillsbury website - or walk into any store, restaurant, or movie theater in the country. Bingo!

It's just weird that people come onto this site and want to bitch because some people want to eat healthier food. Like, why do you care??

how about the way each burger was prepared? I think that would affect the result of this experiment as well...

This is the same thing they did in SuperSize me.

That. is. NASTY! And you all who say this was an improper experiment because restaurant kitchens are sooo much cleaner... SERIOUSLY?! They're disgusting; I promise Snack Girl's kitchen was much cleaner... regardless, it's a burger that hasn't even started to decompose in almost 2 weeks. Whatever the experiment conditions, that's rancid.

has anyone argued yet that cheese is just mold, anyway? :)

I happen to have a 3 yr old McDonald's burger and fries. Yes, I said 3 years old. Still no mold, mildew and the bugs don't bother it. I never put it in a baggy tho. I left it in the paper bag it came in for 2 wks. Then I displayed it in my nutrition store for 2 yrs. I now have it back in the bag in my garage. The coons and possums don't bother it at all, and believe me, they get into everything else........ so, there you go! Very Strange indeed. It is hard and resembles 'play food'.

This may have already been said, but if not, I was and am TOTALLY grossed out by the McDonald's burger and have no such feelings or gag reflex to the homemade rotting cheese burger. I seriously cannot EVER eat Micky D's again. Like the other posts, I think we ALL should start putting the other chains to the test., well, the one person tried to say that Swiss cheese has a preservative in it, so therefore it is as equally "not food" as this fast food garbage.

As an aside here, just saw a photo montage on CNN online where they showed the latest in horrific fast food. Apparently the Hardees Monster Thickburger has something like 1800 calories and 80 grams of fat. Insane.

Honestly, the only thing this does for me is make me realize that I probably WOULD buy a McD's hamburger if I wanted one, because any bread around my house would look that moldy. I think all this really does is convince the people who are against McD's that they're correct :) (Sorry, but I have to agree with those that this isn't really a valid comparison...and there are just other things about which I worry!)

Wow, I am not now, nor will I ever be a food nazi telling people how to eat. But I'll also never be blind to the facts. The food served at fast food chains is almost totally void of nutrition, and is not healthy for you. I ate this food for 44 years myself and thought people that condemned it were just preachy busybodies, UNTIL I decided to eat healthier. I totally quit eating out and began making my own meals using only organic and natural products. I feel so much better and my energy level, while not really ever low, has sky rocketed. So instead of trying to minimize the "experiment" maybe do a little more digging and keep your mind open to the possibility that we as Americans have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to our food.

I think it is the pesticide and herbicide residue in the GMO corn that provides most of the cellular structure of McD's burgers. Probably also fungicide residue too.

There have been some good recent studies about how these GMO plants produce their own toxins in the cellular structure, and so it can't be washed off or separated from the product (like corn). It then gets concentrated in the meat and milk of animals that eat the GMO plants.

erm.. not sure what most of those are but im prity sure there not good

Thank you for posting this. I use the same experiment for my lectures. I have a burger that is 3 years old and still looks the same, plus the fries are hard as a rock but no change in appearance. This is not food but a frankenstien experiment.

For the record, a lot of the bread I buy from commercial bread companies has it's share of preservatives...however, it DOES mold within 5 or 6 days..My burger bun that is 3 yrs old has no mold.

I totally get this. We are just supposed to be astounded that the cheeseburger doesn't decompose. It's like the 7 year shelf life of a Twinkie thing. And for me it makes an impact.

I have to laugh though because my 11 year old son looked at it and said, "Eeeewwww. I'm never eating one of Dad's homemade burgers again!"

Things that dry out tend not to decay - you just made cheeseburger jerky (or a cheeseburger mummy, if you still want to put a creepy spin on it).

I think the 'not food' thing is a bit hasty a conclusion, unless you're also going to declare beef jerky, salami, biltong, etc as 'not food'

mmmm. i don't eat much fast food at all, but with this evidence before me, I think i'm gonna start. Look at that burger! as shiny and pristine as the moment it was made. If i consume that, perhaps I too will develop a 'half-life' and Live Forever. mwahahahah

I don't understand, I ate at McDonald's just a few days ago, and, while my tummy aches a little after I eat it, it tastes great. I've eaten fast food the majority of my life (since college) and I'm not obese (I may be a little out of shape, but not bad). I've played soccer my whole life, I ski/snowboard, swim, etc.

My point is that I don't agree that there is NO nutrition in fast foods. I survived, I'm healthy, (perhaps all the alcohol I consume kills the bad stuff in me), and I enjoy my life. I will have McD's every once in a while (it's right next to my work) and enjoy it, feel a little sick afterward and go on with my life. Life's too short to worry about how things will effect you, whether you die at 80 or at 90, you're still useless the last several years of your life and you can say you enjoyed every minute of the first many years.

My husband just renovated a macdonalds restaurant, and says it was the dirtiest, most disgusting kitchen.

The issue here is preservatives. If you do a google search for how long it takes for McDonald's burgers to decompose, you will find a variety of answers.

Hi Everyone,

I just did an "experiment" of my own and the Cheeseburger from Mcdonald's did rot, I found mold on it by day 8.

Wow, this is amazing... and disgusting. I used to date this guy who ate fast food ALL the time.... for Lent that year I gave up fast food so he said he'd do so as well... he couldn't last the 40 days. A couple weeks into it he HAD to eat fast food again because NOT eating it was making him sick.

I swear he must have sweat hamburger grease!

This is great and all, and looks like a lot of work, but hasn't this been the SAME EXACT thing I saw on SuperSize Me? I know you must get that a lot, but this has been done already. And we all already knew this.

Hmmmm, something's missing. I mean sure, there's the fact that all the ingredients for McDonald's hamburgers are pre-prepared in a big processing plant somewhere, and they're dry-frozen and distributed that way afterwards. Dry freezing destroys bacteria for sure, but I'm not that sure about fungi. But let's assume that the whole McDonald's process is sterile (they wear gloves while preparing the food, don't they?) up to the point the customer unpacks it. This would explain why it hasn't been spoiled even up to two weeks, even if you'd put it in a ziploc bag (that would keep most of the bacteria out). You see while making the "regular" hamburger you've transferred loads of bacteria (and presumably spores as well :P) to the "natural" hamburger. I presume you didn't put both hamburgers in the same bag, indicated by your comment. Therefore it might be a good idea to somehow "contaminate" the McDonald's hamburger before you seal it in the ziploc bag (either by that sneeze, or some other addition to the hamburger, anything that isn't sterile will do) and see what happens. If every single ingredient will resist the fungi and bacteria this way as well, it means the hamburger stays fresh for a different reason. The most apparent explanation would be preservatives.

this isnt a new discovery- if you leave a McD cheeseburger on top of an old style CRT monitor it remains unchanged for a very very long time. However they do still taste very nice!!

please people 11 days any food be like that so please dont eat come on 11 days

Denatured foods--gm crops of corn, soy, wheat, sugar, cotton, irradiation--all the shelf stabilizing methods--hydrogenation, etc., are a major reason for autoimmune problems--asthma, allergies, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, thyroid, pcos,infertility. One could add--pesticides or chemicals make food toxic to hormones. We DO have an infertility and obesity epidemic. Cell radiation also disrupts melatonin and thyroid. All in the name of convenience, brain tumors--esp in kids, from cell phones. WHERE does the toxic waste from electronics GO? Can we stop styrofoam, etc. by not shipping our food as much? I'm suggesting some limits--we don't need these excesses. Monsanto is destroying our crops, bees are disappearing--let's stop this. We vote with our dollar as well as our vote to keep rocket fuel out of our lettuce and gasoline additives out of out water. First step--share information. SIGG bottles are not BPA free, they lie. We can get BPA free cans and ban teflon, but the denial must stop. How about using cello/corn pkging more and limiting plastic--stop buying plastic, email companies to use better pkging--they will listen. The non-organic food market--full of gm ingredients. Would buying organic lower it's cost by increased demand? I hope, but not sure. You can't fool nature--our bodies get sick. Cancer?

If it's processed then it takes a long time for the food to go out of date. A maccy d's cheese burger is literally like canned soup, it can be kept for ages and nothing with happen to it.

This just goes to show that maccy d's will put any old rubbish into thier food just as long as it lasts long and has a "great" taste...!

Maybe it has fungi all over it, and thats why the bacteria can't grow. Yum!

The point of "food" is so it can be broken down and processed for sustenance. If it can't be broken down by fungi or bacteria then there is something seriously wrong and it shouldn't be consumed in the first place. You'd be amazed how many preservatives are found in McDonald's food over SOME other fast food places. I've also done this same experiment before with a McDonald's burger and a Wendy's burger... guess who grew mold first?

Wow, Mr. Know-it-all, have you figured out this on your own? Did you also measure somehow the amount of fungi and bacteria on each hamburger BEFORE you committed the experiment? If you did and both had the SAME amount, then why didn't you say so? If they were different, why did you leave out this fact? If you didn't bother to check, then what are you talking about?

For the record I'm not a McDonald's nor fast food fan. Far from it. I've even liked the movie "Supersize me". But that doesn't exempt me from the laws of biology and chemistry. Nor do I believe in McDonald's being the "ultimate evil" out of pure faith. Neither should you.

Same here, I used to be able to eat fast food, until about 2 years ago. Now I get bad stomach cramps, and this is totally grosse but I will get diarreah within 30 minutes or less of eating of a McDonalds beef patty, no matter which burger I choose, all of the beef burger choices will have the same effect. I thought I had irritable bowel syndrome but I can eat ethnic food with no problems. If my friends go McDs I literally have to take 2 Immodiums before I take one bite. I will still have to use to the ladies room before 30 minutes are up, but no as intense. I think the cheeseburger didnt rot because its NOT FOOD, AND HAS NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. Funny I tried the same experiment with butter and margarine and the butter rotted, flies attacked it, and the difference, and flies were'nt interested. I decided that margarine really was one molecule away from being plastic, and despite the fatty content in butter and health checks on margarine, I buy only BUTTER.

I have to say, I'm on the side of "Nature doesn't always get it right". If you -think- about it, that bread you're using for the burger was not plucked from a tree, the meat was not taken from the cow in a handy beefburger shape and the cheese sure as hell didn't come straight out of a cow! Just because something appears more natural doesn't mean it necessarily is, and just because something -is- more natural, doesn't mean it necessarily is better for you. In fact, the opposite is quite often true - most narcotics are made from natural ingredients (opiate from opium poppies, cocaine from the coca plant, marijuana from the cannabis plant, magic mushrooms from... well, magic mushrooms). What's more, just because bacteria in the air, pre-existing bacteria on the burger and any bacteria you passed on from your 'sterile' hands (I'd like to see anybody achieve 100% sterility on human hands) - just because those bacteria can't digest it, doesn't mean the completely different bacteria in your gut can't. Food in your gut does not grow mould, it is broken down. Quite simply, the experiment is flawed from all angles and does not produce a valid conclusion. The only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn from this experiment (apart from the fact that health nuts will do anything to prove their point) is that McDonalds use preservatives in their burgers - a fact which is readily available prior to doing the experiment.

Eugh, it's people like you who only eat fat-free yoghurt and skimmed milk and think it's better for you despite it being against your own principles of being "more natural" (yeah, because cows produce fat-free milk now... -_-) AND it being really unhealthy to cut fat out of your diet completely. Human beings NEED fat to survive; we might have developed clothing and buildings that control our environment, but that doesn't mean we don't still need a layer of fat to keep us warm. Health food freaks so often care more about how they look than how healthy they are, and frankly that kind of vanity is extremely detrimental to their physical, mental and spiritual health - I'm not religious myself (buddhist), but there aren't many religions out there which PROMOTE vanity!

perhaps we should all eat them, If you are what you eat and these burgers don't decompose then maybe you have found the fountain of youth!!!!LOL

You went to San Francisco State and lived by Westlake

Your experiment holds no value at all. And I think that people like you should stop worrying about what "America eats." If you don't like fast-food, or think it's unhealthy, (which, for the record, I agree with you on) then don't eat it. No one is forcing you. But make no mistake about this...YOU are forcing your beliefs (based on an experiment that shows nothing except that there are preservatives in that burger) on other people, and making everyone including yourself look like a fool by believing a half-truth.

My point? Here it is. Is it good for a person to swallow a penny? No. It has absolutely 0 nourishment for the "human animal" and, therefore, your body expels it in the same form it was ingested in. See, the human body is an amazing thing, and it (under general circumstances) processes what it needs (the good stuff...vitamins, etc.) and spits out the bad (toxins, chemicals, excess vitamins/minerals, foreign objects, etc.) because it WOULD harm a human body if the bad was kept IN, but good thing for us humans, it's not kept in and/or absorbed, it's pushed out. Sometimes, that process makes us feel sick until the bad stuff is expelled. The same should be noted if you don't normally eat things like fats, sugars, and oils. When you eat things like this that you don't normally eat, your body expels it as a "bad thing" which might make you feel sick.

So, the burgers....yes, the one didn't rot. But good news!! You don't have to worry about that because your body is going to handle that for you. It's going to keep the good, and spit out everything that is left.

I suggest reading a health and nutrition book before your next experiment.

I am sorry to say Katrina that our body does NOT expel all the toxins. Ask the doctors of cancer patients. The biopsies show all the toxins that are stored in the body. If it is not natural, I'm talking about food consumption, not the penny which is a metal, the body may be able to break it down to some degree. But if the food, medication, etc. is synthetic or manmade, the body doesn't recognize it and can't truly digest it (break it down completely) and get rid of it as waste. It stores it in the organs. Our liver and kidneys are detoxifying organs, but like a vacuum cleaner bag that is filled, they will not be able to do their job efficiently. Subsequently, they hide it in the intestines (hence pancreatic cancer), breast tissue (fatty deposits where breast cancer develops). This is a known fact.

Even people who have been treated for cancer with so many medications (that helped them with their cancer) are now toxic! These potent medications are not removed by the body entirely. They too have to undergo a detoxing of their organs. All of this can be done naturally with healthy fruits and vegetables, clean water, etc. Of course we could go on about the chemicals that were sprayed on the fruits and vegetables but I prefer to grow my own and buy organic when I can.

Truly, if all the "bad stuff" was expelled, then there wouldn't be obesity, cancer, disease, etc. I wish that were so, but we have to eat as many unprocessed things as possible to maintain our health and increase our longevity.

To your health,
Karen MacNab
Wellness Consultant

honestly....some vegetables looks worse after two weeks... should we stop eating those too?? This is hysterical...Lots of products looks like this in that temperature. its heated bread...of course it looks like that... its fried steak..that shrink by time...and cheese? well, you all know what happens to that... So...what is the WEIRD and horrible about this???

Interesting experiment. I already knew that McDonald's and stuff like it was bad for you, but this is a mindopening experiment none the less. I wish you further good luck with the project


Simple Bystander

i think imm gonna puke

this is a hoax u can clearly see that the mcdonalds burger was not left to age. i did this experiment and the mcdonalds burger did age and grow u need 2 get ur facts straight and stop showing ppl false info.btw there is no amount of preservatives that can keep any type of food from not aging after 2 weeks.

@the "Haters", get a life! Most of you sound like idiots!

Rock on, Snack girl!

follow-up to the "Haters" (aka TROLLS) YOU'VE MISSED THE POINT!

some bring up interesting & maybe accurate information, but your arguments are beside the point! & therefore worthless, your arguments have no bearing on the point here!

esp. "Jones"

Thanks for the eye-opener/reminder Snack Girl!

You've obviously struck a chord with a lot of people. The ones that got defensive, obviously feel offended somehow. (that's their problem, of course, & has little to do with you)

They seem to be responding to someone/thing else.

Your blog is all about positivity! Keep it up!

I haven't eaten at McD's in almost 5 months and this is why!! I thought I'd miss it, but after really understanding what I do about their food, I don't, not at all. Thanks for the post!!

I worked at the plant that makes the hamburger patties for McDonald's, at least in Canada. For what it's worth, I can tell you 100% fact, that the burger itself is legit. It's 100% beef and nothing else. What they do with it after that, I do no know, but at least the meat is legit.

Thats bull i used to work at a mcdonalds yhe bread was shipped fresh every other day. No way that test is right

to all of the people saying that this was not a scientific experiment. first of all the lady never said it was scientific. second, people dont understand the word sterile. i worked in an operating room for over 17 years i am a nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing. people putting on gloves in mcdees does not make the burger sterile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sterility by definition is having materials exposed to steam under pressure for a designated amount of time. in other words an steam autoclave. when we autoclave instruments there is a strip of paper which turns colors when it is exposed to steam under pressure. similar to a pressure cooker. however, that still does not mean there are no bacteria left on the instruments. it means that the instruments were exposed to a certain amount of time to steam undr pressure. so people who make burgers at mcdees are not sterile when they make them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! plus even though surgeons, and everyone in the room wear masks and gowns and gloves the air around us can never be made sterile!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and u dont need moisture for thngs to mold. mister microbial ecologist(never heard of that as a career option)u dont need moisture to have mold grow or put it into a plastic baggie. has no one ever seen a twinkie in plastic months old. it is in plastic and it does not mold. that means that there are many many many many preservatives in their food. if you cant pronounce the word dont eat it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! also, the first ingredietn listed on a food label means that food is made up mostly of that first ingredient. all fast food is nasty and wrong. and a person does not have to pay alot of money to get healthy things to eat. if fresh produce is not available the next best thing is frozen vegys.

Wow, I just had to post this hear after getting this story in my email today. Very interesting to read but you have to watch the YouTube video on this man's 18 YEAR COLLECTION OF MCDONALD'S HAMBURGERS!!! OMG.....this experiment has been going on for so long and just now it's making headlines!! Who paid off who? Check this link out from Natural News:

Keep these posts comin.....

Virgil, my sister is actually doing this right now. And so far she is getting the same results as this blog post. The "food" looks like it's cheap plastic kids' toy food, and it is disgusting.

im doing a science project on this!!

After reading this story I'm going to stop eating junk food anymore. Fresh vegetables are best.

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