It’s a pretty well-known rumor that McDonald’s food doesn’t go bad. Some point to this rumor as evidence of how unhealthy McDonald’s food is, and certainly no one would argue that a Big Mac is full of nutrition.
But is that true? Does McDonald’s food last forever?
One Facebook user, Jennifer Lovdahl, posted a pic of a six-year-old Happy Meal. According to Lovdahl, the Happy Meal hadn’t molded, rotted, or decomposed at all.
Although it is a bit perplexing, it’s actually not weird that the food isn’t rotting.
In fact, Serious Eats did an experiment using homemade hamburgers, and those didn’t rot either. One of the reasons that food goes bad is due to mold, which thrives in moisture. Hamburgers and buns dehydrate over time, and smaller burgers dehydrate faster than the mold can grow.
To test this hypothesis, Serious Eats sealed a McDonald’s burger in a zipper-lock bag to seal in moisture. Shockingly enough, it rotted.
McDonald’s food doesn’t rot because it dries out before it has a chance to (for the most part). Honestly, it’s similar to mummification. The bodies dehydrate, but they don’t decompose. In the case of McDonald’s hamburgers, they’re also cooked at high temperatures, which also helps to kill harmful bacteria.
Nobody’s arguing that you should plan your whole diet around McDonald’s, but if you’ve been avoiding it because “it’s full of chemicals and doesn’t rot,” that’s not actually true. Even Snopes says that rumor is mostly false.
BuzzFeed also did a ‘study’, and turns out the less gross they look, the more disturbing the results.
So enjoy your burger and fries. In the end, it’s all just food.