In July 2009, the director of the U.S. newspaper Elkhart Truth, Marshall V. King, conducted an experiment in which he stored a McDonald’s hamburger in his desk for 5 years. He assumed that when he took it out it would be spoiled, but it was neither rotten nor moldy, nor did it show any signs of decay.
Marshall described the state of the burger like this: “A hockey puck with a slight smell of beef on stale bread.” The experiment soon became well known when its author posted the story on his Twitter account.
McDonald’s released a statement about the story and explained that their hamburgers are of high quality, and if stored carefully they can be preserved for a long time. On the other hand, if stored in moist conditions they will quickly begin to decompose.
Not long ago, a similar story made the rounds on social media: a video was released called the “bionic burger,” which referred to an experiment conducted by Len Foley, who had been collecting McDonald’s hamburgers for 19 years. His results were the same as Marshall’s: the bionic burger looked as if it had been bought the day before.
A nutritionist took interest in the subject, and she found that when the burgers were carefully stored they didn’t spoil, but they did in fact dry out and develop a bad smell.
Finally, New York photographer Sally Davies took pictures of one of McDonald’s burgers for 145 days, and her images showed no signs of mold or spoilage. After her experiment, she said, “The only change I see is that it’s become hard as a rock.”
Experts from the US Food and Drug Agency have found that McDonald’s hamburgers contain chloroform, sodium lactylate and other chemicals not found in similar products, which is why they last for so long.