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Does Fast Food Rot Days 11 & 12

May 13, 2010

Things have been pretty busy around here lately, as I am not the only amateur scientist in the family.  My daughter has been preparing for a science fair on a much less disgusting subject, so I haven’t been able to oversee my mold growth as much as I would have liked.  This is my way of saying that I forgot to take pictures last night and this morning.  Instead I have:

Image #33: May 12th  7:51 AM.  The two burgers on the right are fuzzy.  My daughter suggested that they looked like really big dandelions.  I told her NOT to blow on these.  She doesn’t listen to me with the real ones, so this could go very poorly for me.

Image #34: May 12th  7:51 AM.  The Burger King burger has a fair amount of fuzz itself, but this isn’t showing up so well in the photos.  It is a very thin layer.

What a difference a day makes:

Image #35: May 13th  4:04 PM.  OH MY GOD…What the hell is that black stuff?!?!  It looks like lichen.  Black mold cannot be good…  It started on the McDonald’s burger this morning and it has already spread over to both of the other burgers.  This rot looks virulent…

Image #36: May 13th  4:04 PM.  This is the last time the lid is coming off of these.  I held my breath, looked away and snapped a shot.  I hope I don’t catch something….  The Burger King burger is making up for lost time.  The entire greenhouse is disgusting… except the tomato.  That still doesn’t look so bad.  I thought the tomato would kick off the whole rotting food thing, but I was wrong.  Mother Nature does know how to wrap her foods….

So, for all intents and purposes, I am calling this experiment over, in under 2 weeks.  There is no doubt that the claims that fast food is made of chemicals and can’t rot are simply wrong.  Fast food rots.  It is a little slower than organic, home made, but not significantly.  The Burger King was a little slower, but that could be some additional salt (I hear they use iodine in some of their foods, so that could explain it).  In any case, to determine if it was just these burgers or if there is a pattern of Burger King being slower than McDonalds you would need to perform the same experiment several times, making sure that the placement of the burgers is randomized.

I have moved the greenhouse out of the house.  I will try to ignore it on the back patio as long as I can get away with it.  While I am doing this, I will take the odd photo as it might get even more exciting.  I was wondering though, does anyone want to buy a gently used plant greenhouse, only used one time?

Remember, junk food is junk food because it contains all of the things that aren’t great for us in food, refined carbs, tons of fats and salt.  There is just too much flavour in such a small package.  It isn’t junk simply because it is manufactured, but just that it is manufactured to pack in calories and taste great.  Still, it is junk food and eating it will lead to being overweight.  You need to cut this food down to very low levels if you are going to have a chance at getting fit!

Thanks for coming along on this experiment with me by the way.  I don’t expect a lot of people to travel here to find out that fast food rots, certainly not the hundreds of thousands who tracked down the story with the opposite conclusion.  Truth and facts are kind of boring.  I know it.  Just like science, it is boring!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2010 3:05 pm

    Fast food does rot, but that McDonald’s cheeseburger is now moldy.

  2. palma permalink
    May 17, 2010 9:35 pm

    Hi I read your entire blog re Jillian Micheals because I am looking for a good protein powder. Since she has out these other products I am not interested in especially now whay do you think of her whey protein powder now sold at walmart?

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      May 17, 2010 11:24 pm

      I have heard it is a little sweet, but that could just be the stevia–It is much sweeter than sugar. It also appears quite expensive compared to other whey proteins. I personally drink Syntha-6 because I like the taste. I think the key is to find a flavor that you like at a good price. Also, I use my protein shakes as a meal replacement, so it is very important to me that they keep me full for 4 hours. All of the different proteins have different lasting times on feeling full, so find a protein that keeps you full for awhile. This is about the sum total I know about protein powders….

  3. June 6, 2010 1:27 pm

    I’m wondering if the tomato has some kind of waxy coating applied before being sold. What would happen if it were picked fresh from a garden?

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      June 6, 2010 1:44 pm

      Good question. I can definitely try that later this year when I harvest my tomatoes. After all, wax can be organic. Still, my bet is just that the skin of a tomato is pretty strong and able to keep the tomato from rotting for a week or so at least. It is definitely rotting now. If the skin had been damaged or breached in any way, it would have rotted much faster. I used to carve a lot of pumpkins with my kids on Halloween and I became an expert on pumpkin disposal afterwards. The key to getting rid of pumpkins is to damage the skin. If you don’t, they will take forever to rot. I will keep you in the loop when my tomatoes are ripe and ready for comparison to store bought.

  4. Curious Reader permalink
    October 21, 2010 4:39 pm

    Hey, I stumbled onto your website as a member of ‘the other crowd’ (the crowd that, like you, appreciates scientific evaluation of claims before accepting them as truth or dismissing them as lies) and I must say that you did a really great job at debunking the myth that fast food is immortal. It is sad that so many people are so eager to accept something that ‘seems’ reasonable to believe, and with all the talk about fast food being so unhealthy, most people easily bought the idea that it can’t rot. However, that is no excuse for going and checking the validity of the information, as I have done. Thank you, for a great article and a great experiment.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      October 21, 2010 5:03 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. I am endlessly frustrated by people jumping to conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. It just strikes me as odd. What I find more disturbing though is that with all of the con artists and scammers out there making money off of this tendency of people’s, why in the world is critical thinking not taught in highschool. The other crowd sounds great. You should post the a link to your website if you guys/girls have one. Take Care.

  5. November 2, 2010 12:33 pm

    Yup. I recently demonstrated the same thing in a controlled experiment. Trust that the media won’t clue themselves in though.

  6. Gabrielle permalink
    February 13, 2011 5:24 pm

    Hi there ( i dont even know if you still check this, but im going to try anyway),

    I am working on a tenth grade biology honors experiment and i came across this site while looking for rotting tomatoes. I think i want to try it (Don’t worry i am giving you credit), but my only problem is where to keep the burgers. Do i need a greenhouse or will any container do? a box? i think i am also going to put another burger in from this new joint that opened up by my house called Five Guys and a Burger.

    Thank you(:

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      February 13, 2011 8:54 pm

      Hey Gabrielle,

      I always check comments and I appreciate that you took the time to make one. You really don’t have to give me any credit, and I am excited to see others doing this research. I think you need to control for humidity. Without humidity, nothing will rot, so the greenhouse with a wet sponge gave a fair amount of constant humidity. Temperature is another thing you will want to control for. The warmer the temperature, the faster it will rot. When I moved the burgers outside, the rotting slowed down.
      In any scientific experiment you want to control for all of the variables but the one you are testing, so if it is to see which burgers rot faster, than put them all in the same greenhouse with some humidity and a reasonable temperature. If you want to see the impact of humidity on burgers, then put the some of the same burgers in a greenhouse and the control burgers outside of the greenhouse in a low humidity environment and study the impact of humidity on rotting.
      A box isn’t very effective to keep the humidity in as it is very porous and would have a similar humidity to a room quite quickly.
      What is your hypothesis?

  7. Anne Dowson permalink
    January 28, 2012 2:09 pm

    Has this experiment been done on potatoes or french fries? My husband is concerned about potatoes because french fries don’t rot. As a matter of fact he was concerned that a bag of potatoes we had didn’t completely deteriorate and rot, nor did they turn black when he put some iodine on them.
    So, now I am on a quest for the reason as to why, and if we should give up on potatoes….

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      January 29, 2012 1:26 am

      The experiment is on french fries. I would have dismissed your husbands concerns about potatoes as foolish, but then I saw this video and realized we don’t know much about the standard techniques of preserving common foods, even potatoes. This video is very much worth a watch. Try running experiments on true organic potatoes (either grown yourself or bought from a reputable source) if you want to be sure. In any case though, I don’t worry much because I know potatoes are one of the worst foods you can eat. They are a slow poison just for their glycemic activity, you don’t need anything added to make them bad for you. The fact they add stuff too, well, just don’t eat potatoes! Good luck.

  8. Jacquelyn Johnson permalink
    February 25, 2012 10:28 am

    I was just wondering if it would have been more beneficial with less error to have had each burger and tomato in their own container? I feel that way you could truly see which one rots/molds on its own at what rate. Your experiment has the flaw that once one thing molded it spread to the others without each thing molding at its own rate. 🙂 Just a suggestion.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      February 27, 2012 12:30 am

      The only problem with putting each burger in its own container with a tomato is that it would be harder to ensure that each container had the same humidity levels. Because humidity is the most important factor in this study, I felt it was more important to control for that. I don’t know that mold spreading is a problem for the test because a burger treated with preservatives would be more resistant to rotting even after exposure. In an ideal world, with proper tools I would put each burger in its own container, control exactly for humidity and heat (varying both to determine the ideal temperature and humidity levels) and expose each of the burgers to the same bacteria.
      Another option could be to mold a burger in advance and then put each of the burgers in their own container, exposing them to the bacteria via a q-tip or something to that effect.
      Given what I was testing, which is whether fast food burgers would rot or not, the exposure to other molding burgers did not create an error. The hypothesis I was disproving was literally, that fast food burgers could not rot (as evidenced by the many people who own dried out burgers). I would love to see the test done with each burger on its own, so if you do run this experiment, send me a link!

  9. Jacob permalink
    September 19, 2012 9:44 am

    I’m not saying your wrong but mold does SPREAD so if you keep all three burgers in one container and one gets moldy the rest will get infected by the mold but again it might not prove your experience is wrong just that to do the experiment you should keep them separate.

    • YouAreNotAFitPerson permalink*
      September 19, 2012 6:13 pm

      That is the idea… The argument is that McDonald’s food is secretly treated with preservatives that PREVENT mold from growing. If it was, the mold would not spread to it. The debate isn’t which burgers come with the least mold spores on them. If I were doing a scientific study I would introduce different mold spores in controlled amounts onto each burger and see how the mold grew. If one of the 3 burgers had been treated with a preservative it would have been delayed in getting moldy or might not have even rotted at all. This was not the case though.

  10. Charlene permalink
    January 21, 2014 6:02 pm

    My daughter is doing a similar experiment for a science project. She was testing to see which would mold first… a McDonalds burger, or one from her school. Because I know bread molds, we just tested the actually meat patty. Surprisingly–the McDs molded within about 3 days… now I need info on what that means. (Whether it’s good or bad that it molds…) Any thoughts on where to get that info?

    • Miriam permalink
      January 8, 2016 9:34 pm

      Hi Charlene i was wondering if u ever found out information the mold. My daughter is doing the same experiment. Thanks!


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