Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Happy Meal Experiment - One Week Later

It's now been one full week since I bought the Happy Meal for this experiment. It is a plain cheeseburger Happy Meal, with fries. I am treating this Happy Meal as a "Forgotten Happy Meal." This past week it has sat on my kitchen counter. For the record: our house has no AC and we haven't had the heat on either. Temperatures have varied this past week from the lower-mid 90's to barely 60 and rainy. It has been pretty humid here though, no matter the weather. We have the window open in the kitchen, as well as fans going, so there is a lot of air flow in general. So, the Happy Meal has just sat out, forgotten about, on the counter. The only thing I've done is taken the toy out of the box. Even the napkins are still in there! Take a look!

~Looking as if I just brought it home from McDonald's~

~Unwrapped for examination. So far, still looking rather new. The fries have shriveled up and darkened a little bit. The burger still feels normal.~

~A close-up of the french fries.~

~When I was handling the bag of fries I noticed that the bottom of the bag felt heavier than it usually does when it is "fresh." So, I peered in. I noticed at least one fry was growing mold and turning black. Since the ones on the top weren't doing this, I'm inclined to think that this is because the fries on the bottom of the bag are clustered together in a more moist environment. I moved the fry so that we could get a photo of the one I saw with the black spot. I did NOT take all of the fries out. This is a "forgotten Happy Meal", to take them out would be messing with it too much.~

~The cheeseburger seemed fine. I pried the bun away from the bottom just a little bit, it was NOT wanting to come apart. So far, everything still looks roughly the same, maybe just a little older looking. When I turned the burger over though, I could see some white fuzz of mold beginning to grow. Again, given that the burger was wrapped with the loose part of the wrapping being on the top of the bun, I am inclined to say that the growth here is for the same reason as the fries.~

It is decaying more than I thought it would. Which makes me cringe to have to admit my husband might have been right in his "I don't believe that" about the 4 year old Happy Meal that has not rotted or decayed at all. I am keeping this for at least another week, but I have a feeling that it will have rotted to the point of tossing by then.
I am also reminded of the food that I find in the car. Anyone who has kids finds food in their car at some point in time and wonders how long it has been there. It doesn't always rot and mold and decay.
I wonder if the Happy Meal in the video wasn't left to sit out and air-dry to some degree. Sitting out yes, but not wrapped up. Should that be the case I feel like the video is misleading and twisting truths since she shows it in original packaging (wrapper, fry bag, etc).
I'm very curious to see what next week brings.

What do you think??

1 comment:

Carole and Chewy said...

I think this is a science experiment your kids will remember everytime they pass a McDonalds. Maybe to the degree that they will never eat there again, which is probably a good thing, since none of it is real food anyways. I am also pleased to find that for years I was inadvertently doing science experiments in my car.