Fast Food Fried Chicken Experiment: Is it Fresh Food?

September 2, 2010   13 Comments

The most popular post on Snack Girl has not been about a healthy snack. In April, I wrote this: McDonald's Burger Left for Two Weeks, and over 30,000 people have viewed it.

Fried Chicken Rot Experiment

Needless to say, I have received many requests for further experiments involving rotting food. Also, many people told me that my experiment helped them to kick the McDonald's burger habit and so I felt motivated to try again.

Angie sent me this last week and it truly disturbed me:

One day my husband and I went to Popeyes (chicken). So, we got home and were upset that we were shorted a chicken breast.

Three months later, I was cleaning out our car so we could pack up and move to WA (from CA). I was pregnant and gagging the whole time - crumbs, crayons, old stale water bottles, beach clothes - yuck. I reached under the passenger seat and found a suspicious box wrapped in a bag. "WHAT is THIS?!" I cautiously opened it up, thinking it would explode like the mysterious package on the Incredibles. It didn't.

Instead, I found that missing chicken breast carefully wrapped in tissue, placed in a Popeye's box and then placed in a Popeye's bag. It didn't smell. And I would ABSOLUTELY know if it did. (Even not preg, DH makes fun of my overactive olfactories.) Knowing that I can't even wash dishes while preg (gag) I opened the box anyway. It looked EXACTLY like it would had we JUST bought it.

It didn't smell AT ALL. It was rock hard and perfectly intact. I could have easily placed it on a plate and served it up and no one would know any different until they touched it. Needless to say I do NOT eat Popeye's anymore. {cringe}

My husband was floored when I showed him. Being a chef, he couldn't understand how it was even possible for this meat to NOT decompose after all that time. We even opened up the breast to see the "meat" beneath the crispy, fried skin. Sadly, it just looked dry and tough - but still looked like chicken. It STILL looked like chicken!!

Anyways, not sure if there's a Popeye's near you to experient on, or even if you'd want to as it is clearly not a healthful choice (haha). I think everyone should know though. Especially because their commercials go into detail about how fresh their product is and they give the impression that its what you'd get down in New Orleans. {Shakes head}. Till next time, its roasted rosemary zucchini and red potatoes for me.

Angie, there IS a Popeye's near me and a KFC! So, I took it upon myself to do a little experiment with fried chicken. There are 4 pieces of chicken here:

1. P = Popeye's
2. K = KFC Original
3. KG = KFC grilled
4. H = Homemade by Snack Girl

These are now sitting in plastic bags on my bookshelf. See my incredibly high tech packing scheme here:


Why the plastic bags? Well, the piece of chicken left in Angie's car may have just dried out. This doesn't mean it was "frankenfood" (just dry chicken) so I think it is important to keep the humidity high to see if the chicken will eventually rot.

Both the Popeye's and the KFC Original are deep fried. The KFC grilled is baked and then grilled. The homemade chicken is baked with homemade bread crumbs. I will share my recipe next week because it is DELICIOUS.

So, check in and see how we are doing in a week. I will shoot a picture every 7 days and share it with you all. (Isn't it kinda sad how small the KFC grilled looks next to the Original? That skin and batter is almost half of the product.)

What do you think? Are you willing to make a prediction on what will happen?

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I think fast food should just be abandoned. **(I worked at KFC a 22 yrs ago (I was 14) and even then it scared me how it was shipped, prepared and stored)** It is purely possible to have yourself prepared in advance when on the road.

My job takes me on the road all the time, and I find a local grocer and buy my food. Most hotels have microwaves now and if they dont get cold items like salad and fruit.

I predict it may decompose slightly... but for control you should have also left pieces out without the ziplock bags. To monitor the difference.

Juliette, Thank you for the feedback - yes, leaving them out would have been a good idea. I tried this before with the McD's burger and it just dried out so I thought I would skip that - but it may be different with chicken. This is nowhere near a perfect experiment. Lisa

WOW Lisa! I'm so flattered my story inspired you so and that you're experimenting and sharing with everyone! How exciting this is! I can't wait to see how the humidity changes chicken. Do we know if the chicken is made with flour or cornstarch? Either way, I'm thinking the flour/cornstarch will absorb the juices that the chicken will sweat out. I've got a feeling that will slow the decomposition down substantially. And because I know a batter mix (usually egg, milk, flour, seasoning) is cheaper than protein, they are probably being dipped several times (which explains the fried chicken being so much bigger than the grilled) - which is a lot of fluff!! That's all for predictions from me. I'll definitely check back!

While I would never eat any of that fast food crap, I recommend that you try the same type of experiment with a non-organic apple.

You might be surprised.

Ken Leebow

Not only has your burger post made it where I will NEVER again eat fast food burgers, my bf also refuses to eat at the golden arches. We used to eat there at least once a week. I also have forwarded this to many, many people. Food should go bad! I'm trying to make as much at home, from stratch as possible. My bf and I are thinking of setting up a stand at our farmer's market with all sorts of homemade goodies. Thanks for doing these types of posts!

Thanks for doing this Lisa. I and my family have also stopped eating McDonald's since the burger exper. I will grab an iced coffee there however, but no food for us. I have also been wondering if any fast food will rot, makes you really stop and think before ordering anywhere.

ya know... the chicken itself was probably completely dehydrated if it was the right time of year. so in a way it was probably "petrified". Still that is gross... it doesn't mean the chicken isn't actually chicken or that its any better than KFC or even making it from scratch with all of the hormones and stuff they put into our chicken now...

That picture just makes me want to go to KFC and get some of their chicken. I love that stuff. Even if it was fresh chicken carefully handled and prepared it still wouldn't be healthy but I still want some. The picture alone is enough to make my mouth start watering.

Am I going to KFC today? No. Not tomorrow either. But it's the only fast food I'm likely to break down and have again at some point. Not all the "fast food nation", "Super Size Me", or Snack-girl education will make it taste less wonderful to me.

This just made me not want to eat any Fast Food anymore!!! Gross

Gelene haven't you seen Snack Girl's info on your iced coffee?



Juliette, I work at KFC today (well, actually today is my day off) and it does not come prepared any more. We get a delivery from steggles at my store every morning between 10-12 and there is very strict procedure as far as times and the like for everything.

I actually just came across another site where a dad is experimenting with happy meals, including chicken nuggets, from various chains. It is really interesting. He is doing it for one year. Should be interesting to see what it turns out to be.

Maybe this will help us see what we are actually feeding our children.

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