14-Year-Old Burger Looks Brand New: How Does A McDonald's Hamburger Stay Preserved?

By Staff Reporter on April 23, 2013 5:40 PM EDT

14-year-old burger
A 14-year-old burger looks just as fresh as it did in 1999. (Photo: YouTube)

A 14-year-old burger was purchased from McDonalds in 1999. David Whipple of Utah originally purchased the burger intending to keep it for a month in order to demonstrate just how much preservatives are hidden in the fast food meal.

Whipple explained that he had kept his burger inside a coat pocket, but eventually forgot about the snack and coat inside a closet for two years. To Whipple's surprise, the burger looks exactly the same more than a decade later. Whipple decided to keep the old burger in order to continue the odd experiment.

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The remarkable burger later became a segment on the TV show "The Doctors."

"It wasn't on purpose," David Whipple explained, "I was showing some people how enzymes work and I thought a hamburger would be a good idea. And I used it for a month and then I forgot about it. It ended up in a paper sack in the original sack with the receipt in my coat pocket tossed in the back of my truck and it sat there for, I don't know, two or three months."

After its stay in the truck, the coat moved inside a closet in his Logan, Utah, home.

"My wife didn't discover it until at least a year or two after that," Whipple said. "And we pulled it out and said 'oh my gosh. I can't believe it looks the same way.'"

The 14-year-old burger indicated no signs of mold, fungus, or even a strange odor. In fact, the only changes were the disintegration of the pickle slices.

However, can preservatives truly stop a 14-year-old burger from decomposing? McDonald's delivered a statement in response to David Whipple's burger:

In the example of a McDonald's hamburger, the patty loses water in the form of steam during the cooking process. The bun, of course, is made out of bread. Toasting it reduces the amount of moisture. This means that after preparation, the hamburger is fairly dry. When left out open in the room, there is further water loss as the humidity within most buildings is around 40%. So in the absence of moisture or high humidity, the hamburger simply dries out, rather than rot.

According to the University of Georgia's National Center for Home Food Preservation website, the process of drying food prevents the growth of bacteria. Since ancient times, drying has been one of the most common methods of food preservation.

Considering the 14-year-old burger's remarkable preservation, is it safe for a person to consume it now? We strongly recommend against it.

Take a look at the hamburger on "The Doctors" below:

READ MORE:

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