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The Doctors

David Whipple thought that he might keep the McDonald’s hamburger he bought for two weeks. He thought it would be a funny party trick to show friends. But then he forgot about it, and he found it a full two years later. And it didn’t really look that different. It had no signs of rotting or mold. So he kept it for 14 years.

Guys. This hamburger is old enough to have a bar mitzvah. It could become an adult hamburger in the eyes of Jewish law. Instead, it’s having a media tour — Whipple recently sent it to the show The Doctors, and told the hosts that he likes to show it to his grandchildren, to show them what’s up with fast food. It is probably older than his grandchildren.

McDonald’s, naturally, had a good excuse about why it was that after 14 years, this burger was still intact.

In the example of a McDonald’s hamburger, the patty loses water in the form of steam during the cooking process. 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.

This is actually true, but don’t tell Whipple’s grandkids. They’ll be better off in the long run if they regard McDonald’s burgers with suspicion. Scientific instincts and skepticism can come later, once they’re older than this hamburger.