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Interesting Information: Some Thoughts On Fast Food Hamburgers Not Spoiling

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Interesting Information:  April 27, 2012

Some Thoughts On Fast Food Hamburgers Not Spoiling

Recap:  Willow Rheault Kreibich posted a piece on FB that featured a picture of various fast food hamburgers and french fries, on a tray, that had not spoiled in two years.

I posted the picture on this blog and commented to the effect of “do you really want to eat this food.”

“Burgerman” replied to my blog–with some interesting and welcome cautions about this story.

Willow received the following piece from “skeptical teacher”:  http://skepticalteacher.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-myth-of-the-non-decomposing-mcdonalds-hamburger/

Apparently, the issue is the amount of moisture involved in the molding process.  And, be aware that mold is the issue raised–not outright spoilage.

The counter argument goes that food needs moisture to mold.  Without moisture, such as might be found inside a plastic storage bag, mold does not occur.

Ok, I can buy that.

But, then I remembered the hotdog buns that got lost in my cupboard for about four months.  They were in a plastic bag.  When I opened the bag, they were like new–soft and spongy and looking quite edible.  I was shocked.  I can tell you that any organic, local bread I bring into the kitchen in a plastic bag spoils in a few days.  It grows truly radical mold, especially in the summer.  If I left a slice of this bread out, it would dry out and not spoil.  That’s true.  But those hot dog buns–which are probably akin to fast food hamburger buns–didn’t spoil inside a bag that would have trapped any moisture in them and caused mold.

Potatoes have a lot of moisture in them.  And, frying would trap that moisture inside.  I can see that some of the thin ones might dry out if left on the counter, but what about the fatter ones?  The fries in the picture look kind of like they just came out of the fryer.  What’s up with that?  What comes to mind for me is that commercial potatoes are sprayed with really strong chemicals–so strong that they often have to sit in piles outside until the worst of the chemicals dissipate–a process which can take up to six months, according to Michael Pollan.  These potatoes will not grow sprouts from their “eyes” if exposed to light.  Are the chemicals retarding mold and spoilage as well?  I want to know a lot more about why these French fries are not going bad.

As for the hamburger patties, I can see that if the meat is thin enough, it might dry out before molding.  Burgerman reminded me that we dry foods all the time, including meat.  But, we don’t dry meat on a counter.  We dry it under the sun, with the aid of air currents.  Or, in a dehydrator.  In other words, we use heat and air circulation to wick away moisture and to kill any pathogens that cause spoilage.  In addition, most commercial hamburgers are cooked well-done–so many of the pathogens are killed–as are the nutrients, by the way, which is why I eat meat that isn’t well done.  The grass-fed hamburgers I cook are medium rare or, even, for me, at least, rare.  There’s a TON of moisture in them.  They would spoil and mold if left on the counter.

Mold is one issue.  But what about other spoilage?   Would you eat one of these two-year old hamburgers and French fries that have, famously, not grown mold?

For the past 46 years, I have cooked multiple meals every day–unless I’m on an infrequent vacation somewhere–in which case I usually long for my own food.  I feed two dogs and eight chickens real food.  No dry dog food or commercial chicken feed is served here.  So, at night I am always throwing leftovers into bowls for the animals for the next morning.  Real food starts to turn into something smelly I wouldn’t eat in a matter of a few hours.

So, yes, I can agree that if you let well-done hamburgers and dead-bread buns sit out, they won’t MOLD unless there is sufficient moisture.  Maybe, though, they will SPOIL.

But, that fact begs the question of whether or not this kind of food is actually nourishing in any way.  It’s still dead food:  dead buns, dead overcooked meat that is likely adulterated with soy, and something truly weird about the nonspoiling French fries that are cooked in rancid, dangerous highly-processed vegetable oils–often made from soy and cottonseed.  (When did cotton become a food?)  The processing in these oils breaks their chemical structures down so that they are like little sharp razor blades in your veins.  They’re the real cause of heart disease according to Sally Fallon Morrell and Mary Enig of the Weston A. Price Foundation–as demonstrated in the video, “The Oiling of America.”

So, I’m still saying, “would you feed this food to your kids?”  Or, eat it yourself?

Written by louisaenright

April 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

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