Why don’t McDonald’s burgers grow mold?

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One of the most disturbing parts of the bonus section of the Supersize Me DVD is the experiment Morgan Spurlock conducts on McDonald’s sandwiches and sandwiches from other restaurants. He places them in glass jars and films them over the course of a month as they decompose (or not, as the case may be). And the conclusion most viewers come to (myself included) is that there must be something drastically wrong with the food that even mold takes a long time to get hold of it.

Well, not so fast. Turns out that there might be something a little simpler at play, and J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has not only a theory, but results to back it up. Lopez-Alt notes at the end of his piece that there are good reasons to dislike the company, and personally, I’m not going back there any time soon either, but the idea that their food is so loaded with either sodium or preservatives that it defies mold shouldn’t be one of them.


Brian Spears's first collection of poetry, A Witness in Exile, is now available through Louisiana Literature Press, and at his personal website. He is the Poetry Editor for The Rumpus, and teaches poetry at Drake University. More from this author →