An unhappy meal


This recent post by Jennifer Lovdahl has been shared about 350,000 times on Facebook:

It’s been 6 years since I bought this “Happy Meal” at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is. Especially for our growing children!! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.

It’s been argued that cases like these mostly depend of food quickly getting dehydrated, stopping microbial growth. But for some reason that’s usually not what happens to real food I leave lying around.

You could speculate that this tendency to quickly dehydrate depends on a large surface area and a non-solid structure. Perhaps this is one of the factors (beside the carbiness) that makes fast food rapidly digestible and obesogenic.


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  1. Bob Niland
    Twinkies are notorious for having shelf life like this. The dehydration theory is interesting, but my first impression was:

    Wow, even normal airborne bacteria and fungi don't consider this food (which probably means your microbiome doesn't either, and may even take a hit from it).

    Lots of candidate obesogens: wheat breading on the alleged chicken remains, hi-gly starches in the potatoes, omega 6 PUFA saturating both. The buyer at least declined the sauce, which was very likely just flavored HFCS.

  2. Apicius
    Looks like the invoice stuck on the box is rotting faster than the "food" inside the box.
    Reply: #3
  3. chris c
    You could probably sell it now for more than you paid for it. Would anyone notice?
  4. JB
    Not a fan of McDonald's to be sure, but we need to be careful here. There are plenty of other reasons not to eat their food, but this probably doesn't tell us anything about the quality or lack of quality of the food. Here's a good article on a similar meme:
  5. BrB
    Anchorage Alaska in January, the food was not exposed to many mold spores in the first stages.
  6. curtis
    Jb I agree with most of what you had to say but once again the preservatives they put in them add to obesogenic Society. Lets Talk about High fructose corn syrup that's just about in all fast food. Your theory is sound. But it's hard for me to believe even with no water in the meat that no bacteria or mold would grow as it is still meat just as jerky. Even if it's dried will still fight off bugs and bacteria. BTW I am not refuting your evidence or bashing you. I don't really know . But i do know that High fructose corn syrup is a contributor to the over weight society we currently have today. Also thank very much. you have given me food for thought.

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