- (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee)
A 14-year-old hamburger from McDonalds was found by a Utah man, who was amazed to see that over a decade later, the fast food sandwich looked exactly the same. David Whipple first intended to keep the burger for a month for an experiment in 1999 but soon forgot about it.
The 14-year-old hamburger was preserved by accident. After Whipple used it for demonstrations, he left it in his coat pocket and forgot about it for a few months. Later the coat was stashed in a closet for two years, where his wife eventually found it essentially unchanged, except for the disintegration of the pickles.
"It wasn't on purpose," Whipple said on TV. "I was showing some people how enzymes work and I thought a hamburger would be a good idea. And I used it for a month and then I forgot about it. It ended up in a paper sack in the original sack with the receipt in my coat pocket tossed in the back of my truck and it sat there for- I don't know- two or three months."
"My wife didn't discover it until at least a year or two after that," he added. "And we pulled it out and said, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe it looks the same way.'"
What may be the world's oldest hamburger caught the attention of TV show "The Doctors," who dedicated an entire segment to the curiously preserved sandwich. The 14-year-old burger's bun and meat patty were intact, without any mold, fungus, or breakdown of most ingredients.
The burger caught the attention of McDonald's, who said that the burger's preservation is because it is "fairly dry" in the first place. The abundance of moisture- Whipple is from Logan, Utah, which has a somewhat humid climate- has little effect when the patty is small and the bun is pre-toasted.
"In the example of cooking a McDonald's hamburger, the patty loses water in the form of steam during the cooking process," the company said in a statement. "The bun, of course, is made out of bread. Toasting it reduces the amount of moisture. This means that after preparation, the hamburger is fairly dry."
"When left out open in the room, there is further water loss as the humidity within most buildings is around 40%. So in the absence of moisture or high humidity, the hamburger simply dries out, rather than rot," McDonald's concluded.
Although fast food burgers, chicken sandwiches, American cheese and other products may not rot, they still should not be consumed too long after they are made.