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The Zombie Fast Food Hamburger

What happens to a McDonald's cheeseburger that's been sitting on your counter for a year? You'd be surprised.

Sure, you're "lovin' it," but it seems like maggots, flies and even mold disagree.

Melanie Hesketh, a nutritionist in Ontario, Canada, decided to leave a McDonald's cheeseburger on her counter to see what would happen. It was an experiment aimed at deterring her teenage children from wanting to chow down on unhealthy fast food—kind of like a head on a stake in meat, cheese and bun form.

Her surprising findings after a year? Absolutely nothing. The burger, which should have fallen victim to all sorts of decay and nastiness after all that time, was still perfectly intact. The bun had dried and the patty and cheese had shriveled, but it otherwise looked exactly the same as it did when she ordered in a year ago. (See it here.)

"Obviously it makes me wonder why we choose to eat food like this when even bacteria won’t eat it," Hesketh told the National Post. The year-old meat and cheese didn't even start to stink. She said it “still smells slightly like a burger ... it hasn’t changed much."

Hesleth got the idea after reading reports about fast food being produced for quick consumption, but somehow managing to last for extended periods of time. McDonald's claims that their meat is free from all fillers and binding agents, but the extremely high sodium content might be the culprit in its ability to last. Still, she expected the bun and the cheese to get moldy, but was surprised to see that the entire burger had withstood the test of time.

As for her future plans for the zombie cheeseburger, she says, "I’m going to keep it forever—it’s a good conversation piece."

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock conducted a similar experiment in his film Super Size Me. He compared how long it would take for fast food versus food he had gotten from a restaurant to decay. The restaurant burger decayed significantly after approximately a week, whereas the fast food burger lasted much longer.

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