It’s probably a good idea to throw food away after several years have passed.
A TikTok user recently shared a video showing off a McDonald’s hamburger and French fries that apparently have been sitting in a box inside a closet since 1996. While the food doesn’t exactly look fresh, it also doesn’t look like it’s over 20 years old.
TikTok user Aly Sherb shared a video of her grandmother showing off the contents of a box that she says she keeps in her closet, which is labeled “hamburger.” According to her, it contains a McDonald’s hamburger and fries that were originally purchased in 1996.
The grandmother starts off by showing off the bag’s advertisement for Nascar races in 1996. She then takes out the fries, which she says look like they could have fallen into a seat “a month or so ago” and says that they “never rotted or decayed.”
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She then pulls out the burger. It’s unclear which burger she originally ordered, but all that’s left in the bag is the bun and burger, neither of which appear to be rotted or decayed.
The video closes out with her saying, “24-year-old hamburger, not sure what would happen if you ate it though.”
The video has been viewed over 3 million times.
A similar story made headlines earlier this year when a Utah man showed off a 20-year-old burger from McDonald’s that also had not rotted. At the time, Anne Christensen, director of Field Brand Reputation for McDonald’s, said, “In the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose. But, in order to decompose, you need certain conditions — specifically moisture.”
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She continued: “Without sufficient moisture – either in the food itself or the environment – bacteria and mold may not grow and therefore, decomposition is unlikely. So if food is or becomes dry enough, it is unlikely to grow mold or bacteria or decompose. Food prepared at home that is left to dehydrate could see similar results. Similarly, this particular burger is likely dried out and dehydrated, and by no means the same as the day it was purchased.”
At the time, Donald W. Schaffner, Ph. D., distinguished professor and extension specialist for the Food Science graduate program at Rutgers University, told Fox News that the explanation provided by McDonald’s was an “entirely factual response.”
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According to him, since McDonald’s cooks their burgers well-done, much of the bacteria is already killed off. If a burger is stored in the right conditions (for example, somewhere dry), it would simply become dehydrated and become somewhat mummified.