David Whipple bought a hamburger from McDonald's in 1999, and has the receipt to prove it. Strangely enough, he also has the burger itself to prove his purchase.
"I was showing some people how enzymes work and I thought a hamburger would be a good idea," said Whipple on the daytime talk show The Doctors. "And I used it for a month and then forgot about it."
The burger's apparent freshness throws off everyone who comes to see it — it just doesn't look 14-years-old. No mold, no bad smell, nothing to suggest it's more than a few days old. Except maybe the taste — but it's doubtful anyone will try that anytime soon.
Dr. Keith Warriner, the program director at the University of Guelph's Department of Food Science and Quality Assurance, weighed in on the process of the burgers simply not molding:
"The reality is that McDonald's hamburgers, french fries and chicken are like all foods, and do rot if kept under certain conditions," he said. "Essentially, the microbes that cause rotting are a lot like ourselves, in that they need water, nutrients, warmth and time to grow. If we take one or more of these elements away, then microbes cannot grow or spoil food.
"With moisture loss [during the cooking process], we take away an element required by microbes to grow and cause spoilage. So to spoil a McDonald's hamburger, we simply need to prevent the moisture loss. This can be done through wrapping it in cling film to prevent moisture from escaping, or storing it within a high humidity environment, such as a bathroom (notice black mould on your bathroom windows but not in your bedroom)."
Granted, this process also applies to non-McDonald's burgers, as the process is the same. But Whipple still uses the burger as a prop to illustrate the process (or lack thereof).
"It's great for the grandkids to see," he said. "To see what happens with fast food."
Here is Whipple's appearance on The Doctors: