Immortality on a Bun

Back in the ‘70s, my third-grade teacher demonstrated the pernicious effect of soft drinks on our tender teeth with a little experiment: leaving a tooth in a glass of Coca Cola for two weeks until it turned an unappetizing shade of brown. I don’t know if the experiment worked on anyone else, but I have never been a big soft drink fan since.

Boing Boing features a similarly horrifying classroom demonstration: Nutrition educator Karen Hanrahan shows her students a 12-year-old McDonald’s hamburger that looks exactly the same as a new hamburger. The thing hasn’t aged a day.

“People always ask me–what did you do to preserve it ?” Hanrahan writes. The answer? “Nothing–it preserved itself.” Hanrahan keeps the burger in a plastic sandwich container.

“Ladies, Gentleman, and children alike–this is a chemical food,” she continues. “There is absolutely no nutrition here.”

Of course, McDonald’s would beg to differ. And, like the Coca Cola experiment, Hanrahan’s demonstration doesn’t exactly correlate to how the body would interact with the food. As Boing Boing commenter Joe Dokes points out, Hanrahan’s burger has essentially become beef jerky. “The preservation of the burger probably says more about the humidity in her classroom than anything else,” Dokes writes.

When Morgan Spurlock tried this experiment in Super Size Me, the burger got moldy but the fries remained immortal. The difference is that Spurlock’s burgers all had condiments on them and were stored in glass jars, discouraging them from turning into jerky.

Either way, my highly scientific reaction is: Ew.

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