12 Year-old McDonald’s Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

Our intrigue regarding the eternal shelf life of a McDonald’s hamburger began after reading of New York photographer Sally Davies’ exploits involving a Happy Meal Project: Davies purchased a Happy Meal, and perched the McDonald’s hamburger and french fries on a table. As an experiment, she photographed the meal every few days to measure the rate of spoilage. Her photographs revealed that after 145 days, the burger and fries appeared as fresh as the day they were purchased from McDonald’s nearly 5 months ago.1x1.trans 12 Year old McDonalds Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

Our interest was really piqued when we discovered that several other concerned consumers had conducted similar McDonald’s burger experiments. In these experiments, none of the McDonald’s hamburgers decomposed after extended periods of time raging from 1 year to over a decade. Nutrition consultant Karen Hanrahan kept a McDonald’s hamburger for, get this, 12 years. She purchased the McDonald’s hamburger in 1996 using a coupon and posted her claim on her website in 2008.

Author and obesity activist Julia Havey stored a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries for 4 years, and Joann Bruso, a 62-year-old grandmother, held on to a McDonald’s Happy Meal for a whole year. All of these events were either videotaped or photographed. To illustrate what real food looks like when it spoils, Julia Havey’s video visually compares pristine looking four-year old McDonald’s french fries with a regular decomposed potato.

Then there’s Leo Foley’s Bionic Burger video. Foley has allegedly been saving McDonald’s hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and Big Macs from McDonald’s for over 19 years, and “they look EXACTLY the same!” says Foley. “These hamburgers are not food substances (the way we normally think of food), says Foley, “they are chemical concoctions that contain the look, taste, and smell of food but don’t be fooled. There is nothing ‘food-like’ about these substances at all.”

For nonbelievers, Foley has this so say: “I don’t want you to believe me. I would rather have you buy a couple hamburgers from your local McDonald’s and follow our instructions on how to create a Bionic Burger for yourself.”

Ingredients1x1.trans 12 Year old McDonalds Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

McDonald’s Beef Patty/French Fries
No, you won’t find embalming fluid listed among the ingredients in a McDonald’s beef patty, although I wouldn’t be surprised. McDonald’s issued a statement claiming: “No preservatives are added to the beef patties in McDonald’s hamburgers.”

But according to Foley, what you will find is 1,1,1 – trichloroethane, 1,2,4 – trimethylbenzene, BCH, alpha Chloroform, chlorotoluene, chlorpyritos, DDE, p, p, DDT, p, p, dieldrin, diphenyl 2-wthylhexyl phosphate, and ethyl benzene, among a host of other chemicals found in fast food.

Some suggest that since fat makes up about 50 percent of the fries’ caloric content and 35-to-54 percent of the burger patties’, “high levels of fat leave less room for moisture, which prevents mold from sprouting.”

McDonald’s Bun
Enriched bleached flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, reduced iron), water, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, yeast, contains less than 2 % of each of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, calcium silicate, wheat gluten, soy flour, baking soda, emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of fatty acids, ethanol, sorbitol, polysorbate 20, potassium propionate), sodium stearoyl lactylate, dough conditioner (corn starch, ammonium chloride, ammonium sulfate, calcium peroxide, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes), calcium propionate (preservative).

McFrankenstein Creation1x1.trans 12 Year old McDonalds Burger Shows No Sign of Decay

For those of you who consider these eternal McDonald’s hamburger claims over the top, consider this: McDonald’s chicken McNuggets contain tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a petroleum-based product also added to varnishes, lacquers, resins, and oil field additives, and dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent used in Silly Putty.

And prior to 2003, there were even more toxic chemicals in McDonald’s chicken McNuggets that so shocked a federal judge, the chemicals were ordered to be removed. In 2003, a federal judge dubbed the food “a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook.” The ingredients allowed to remain are tBHQ and dimethylpolysiloxane.

How to create your own Immortal Burger:

1. Buy some hamburgers from your favorite fast food restaurant: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King (any place that serves hybridized, chemicalized, genetically altered, hormone/ pesticide-laden food) – BUT DON’T EAT THEM!

2. Put your hamburgers in a fairly dry location and let them sit for many, many years.

WARNING: Do not put your hamburgers in any sealed containers, like jars. The moisture needs to escape the food naturally, so letting them breathe in the open air works best.

3. And that’s it! You are now the proud owner of your own Burger Museum! After 6 or 7 days, you can display them proudly. No animals or insects will touch them – which makes me wonder why we would ever touch them!

Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper