(Hopefully) we've all seen the Super Size Me documentary and the "experiment" at the end where he puts McDonald's burgers (and fries) in jars and watch as fail to decay over a long period of time. Why don't they rot? I'm sure in the documentary he mentioned the cause being the chemicals/preservatives put into the food. If you go anywhere on the internet, you can probably find someone doing their own interpretation of it, citing it as a reason to stay away from McDonald's and their food. Recently I saw something (I don't remember where) that gave a reason for the slow decomposition being because the meat was dried out to the point of being jerky-like. So I decided to look into it!mcdonalds.jpg
The first place I looked was an article by Mike Adams on saying that the chemicals theory is only a part of the story. It's fairly natural, if you want to use that word, for processed foods to not decompose quickly; his examples being margarine, potato chips, and frozen pizza. Adams states that the primary reason for the burgers lasting so long is that "McDonalds meat patties are absolutely loaded with sodium" and that salt is a great preservative. Although that is a good enough reason for me (I like McDonalds), there are still more things to look at.
Another website, "A Hamburger Today", has a post by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt who talks about, and goes through the steps of, an experiment he designed to test these speculations about McDonald's burgers. In this experiment a control burger, one that he ground up and cooked himself, was used and he designed a series of tests "to ascertain the likeliness of each seperate scenario" (You can read all the study details through the link). After 25 days, not only did the McDonalds burgers fail to rot, but so did the homecooked ones (though some did shrink). And countering Mike Adams , the McDonalds burger that was made without salt also didn't rot. On the contrary though, the two Quarter Pounder burgers he tested, one homemade and one McD, both had similarly small amounts of mold. His overall conclusion? "The burger doesn't rot because it's small size relatively large surface area helps it lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there's no mold or bacterial growth."
What do you think, are you still on the fence about it? Even though there seems to be enough reason for me to believe things are fairly okay, Adams asked a noteworthy question: "why aren't the buns molding?" 


I know I have seen the documentary "Super-Size Me" and saw how much the guy (I forget his name) gained weight and all of that. But your blog topic brings up a point that I hope I can try to make sense of through my own thoughts. Its very interesting as to why the burgers did not mold. Obviously there are reasons stated for why the McD burger did not mold. For the other one, maybe grease or something leaked from the McD burger to the other? Depends on the type of meat that was used as well. But this all makes sense as to why the guy from the film became so obese and unhealthy. If the burgers dont mold, to me that sounds like they stay pretty compact and in form. Makes sense as to why so much of these burgers cause people to become fat and unhealthy. As far as the buns go, whose to say that mcdonalds does not do something to them as well?

Are there experiments that show if you soaked the burgers in water, would they decompose?

It seems to me as if they are too dry to support life, like a desert. And of course, they have all those preservatives too, which keep them dryer.

I guess there is a debate as to whether or not McD does something weird to their burgers or if something is weird with the burger itself.

However, the main thing about McD's burgers is that they are stacked on calories that come mostly from fat, which is why people gain so much weight. I don't really think it has anything to do with whether the burger molds or not, maybe that's just a little side-note to gross people out a little more.

I'm very interested to find out what makes food decompose in general, or how its broken down in our bodies when we consume it. Is it similar in the process? Or is it vastly different when we consume it?

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of McD's because of the large caloric intake of each meal. I guess if you put in enough exercise though, that diet could work for you? I would definitely not suggest it though.

When you put anything in glass jars and wait you usually would expect something to mold or rot. It is truly puzzling to think of why they did not rot whether it was salt filled or salt free. There is no way to truly tell without much more experiments. It would be interesting to see what other products do not rot and then find the similarities between them.

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