We shouldn’t be here–again.
Making an encore appearance across countless Facebook feeds is YET another claim that McDonald’s food, left untouched for years, has gone unspoiled, ostensibly because of disgusting, harmful chemicals.
News stories trending on social media1,2 claim that a six-year-old Happy Meal looks as good (bad?) as the day it came out of the hoppers at Mickey D’s. Says Jennifer Lovdahl, the owner of the meal:
“We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this ‘food’ is. Especially our growing children! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery…” 1
Well of course there are chemicals in the food. Everything is made up of chemicals, including the apples, bananas, and carrots that Ms. Lovdahl adores. But the Happy Meal not spoiling? We already know the secret behind that. It’s called desiccation. In plain English, the food has dried out, leaving behind a poor environment for mold to grow.
If you’ve done even a little bit of cooking, you know that the process drives a lot of water out of the food. All you need to do to reverse this and spoil a meal is place it in a moist environment, such as a plastic bag.
Don’t take my word for it. Try an easy experiment at home with some McDonald’s food. My Fear Babe co-authors and I did this recently for our book. The results are visible in the photo below. On the left is a McDonald’s burger left in a plastic bag for approximately two weeks. On the right, a burger left to dry in the open air.
The plastic bag retained enough moisture to allow mold to grow on the burger inside. The sandwich left outside didn’t spoil. Our results have nothing to do with chemicals. In fact, you can repeat this exercise with “healthy” chemical-free bread from your local organic store, and you’ll get the same results.
Why oh why are we still debunking this nonsense in 2016?
“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”–Mark Twain
McDonald’s spoiled/unspoiled hamburgers by Marc Draco, from The Fear Babe. Copyright 2015 Senapath Press. All rights reserved.
McDonald’s happy meal news image from Lovdahl/The Independent, used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.
(1) There’s Something Freakishly Disgusting About This McDonald’s Happy Meal (The Independent)
(2) Mom shares photo of 6-year-old Happy Meal that still hasn’t spoiled (Miami Herald)