Food & Wine

Preservatives make McDonald's meals still looking good after 1 year

Updated: 20 Mar 2010
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Spot the difference: the Happy Meal on March 6 last year and looking almost equally tempting exactly 12 months on


Glancing at the two McDonald's Happy Meals pictured here, you may feel they look pretty much identical.

Astonishingly, however, this is the same meal, photographed 12 months apart.

Where any other food might be a mouldy, decomposing mess after a year, the McDonald's meal shows few signs of going off apart from the beef patty shrivelling and the stale burger bun cracking.

Proof, says the American nutritionist who took these photographs, that it contains so many preservatives that it is bad for the children it is aimed at.


Here's the one-year State of the Happy Meal Address--Bruso's update on how the food fared after a full year sitting in an office cubicle:

"It smelled delicious for a few days. I’d get a whiff of those yummy French fries every time I walked into my office. After a week or so, you could hardly smell it. My husband worried that when the food began to decompose, there would be a terrible odor in our home. He also worried the food would attract ants and mice. He questioned my sanity.

NOPE, no worries at all. My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good. It NEVER smelled bad. The food did NOT decompose. It did NOT get moldy, at all. "

Joann Bruso said: 'Food is supposed to decompose, go bad and smell foul eventually. The fact that it has not decomposed shows you how unhealthy it is for children.'

Mrs Bruso left the Happy Meal uncovered on a shelf at her home near Denver, Colorado, to see what would happen. She has revealed the results on her blog, in which she gives healthy eating advice to parents.

The 62-year-old, who has eight grandchildren, admitted that the arid temperature of her home near the Rocky Mountains meant there was little moisture in the air with which to speed decomposition.


But she added that during the year-long experiment, no flies or other insects were attracted to the food.

She said: 'I had the windows open many times, but flies and other insects just ignored the Happy Meal. What does that tell you, if they can't be bothered with it?

'Food is broken down into its essential nutrients in our bodies and turned into fuel. Our children grow strong bodies when they eat real food.

'If flies ignore a Happy Meal and microbes don't decompose it, then your child's body can't properly metabolise it either.

'Now you know why it's called junk food.'

McDonald's has made great efforts to show that its food is healthy amid growing concerns about childhood obesity. All its restaurants list the calories in each item as well as the individual ingredients.

Recent research showed that each product has an average of seven E numbers. The bun has several preservatives such as calcium and sodium propionate, while the pickle slice has the preservative sodium benzoate.

The fries, which Mrs Bruso said were still golden brown after a year, contain preservatives such as citric acid and sodium acid pyrophosphate, which maintains their colour.




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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 1 )
XMren Commented on 13 Jun 2014
What do we need to do to show the obvious... Manipulated numbers and flashy healthy announcements topped with a big red smile do not make non-healthy food good for your body...
The main problem McDonald's or KFC have is not the quality of their food, it's the addiction they create for their junk food.

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