Friday, March 19, 2010

food that doesn't rot

i applaud nonna joann for her experimental efforts! she bought a happy meal from mcdonalds and let it sit on her shelf for an entire year to see what would happen to the food inside the box, and to contemplate the reality of our fast food society.

she writes, "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."

the photo below is the happy meal ONE YEAR AFTER it was purchased. the results of her experiment have disturbed me.

the contents DID NOT DECOMPOSE or mold or change appearance in any appreciable way. seriously, this is scary!

except for honey, ALL things classified as "food" should decompose. the truth of our species is that everything we eat was once living, from plants to animals. i know its easy to remove ourselves from this fact when so much food at stores is offered in processed forms and comes to us in boxes and cans, but that doesnt change where our natural food sources come from or how our bodies use it.

nonna goes on: "Food is broken down into it’s essential nutrients in our bodies and turned into fuel. Our children grow strong bodies, when they eat real food. Flies ignore a Happy Meal and microbes don’t decompose it, then your child’s body can’t properly metabolize it either. Now you know why it’s called “junk food.”

I think ants, mice and flies are smarter than people, because they weren’t fooled. They never touched the Happy Meal. Children shouldn’t either."



Anonymous said...

That is disgusting, but not suprising. Luckily the only use I have for McDonalds is their free bathroom :D I love your blog by the way.

Anonymous said...

I call magical thinking on this post.

>>ALL things classified as "food" should decompose<<

Why? It's a catchy phrase, but I don't see any reason why it should be true. The link discusses preserving food by refrigeration and heating and is not really related to the assertion that food should decompose. Eating food that is decomposing is usually considered a bad idea because it can lead to food poisoning.

>>...then your child’s body can’t properly metabolize it either.<<

Actually, there's been much hand wringing over the obesity epidemic in today's youth. Part of the problem is that processed foods can be packed with calories and are too easy to digest. The vast majority of kids have no trouble at all metabolizing a happy meal. Give a milkshake to someone who's lactose intolerant--that's what it looks like when someone has trouble metabolizing.

>>They [flies] never touched the Happy Meal. Children shouldn’t either.<<

Flies evolved over millions of years to sense rotting meat, I'm not to surprised they don't find well preserved food. If you handed the happy meal to a human 100,000 years ago they probably wouldn't recognize it as food either. But those humans had a life expectancy of 20 years, so maybe we shouldn't base our diet on what they ate. Flies and mold will happily consume dog shit. Does that make it a good thing to feed to kids?

There are plenty of reasons (discovered using science) not to eat fast food in excess. Maybe you should stick to discussing those. C'mon Amanda, I expect reasoning this shoddy out of climate change deniers and creationists.

Unknown said...

anon - you make some good points! (you should take credit for them instead of posting anonymously, if possible).

its fair to say that this was a reactive post that i did not research scientifically before submitting.

as you mentioned, there are many founded reasons for not eating fast food regularly (high sodium, high fat, low nutritional value, etc...). my quick comments resulted from the feeling of "just one more (scary) reason not to eat fast food!"

i cannot actually find a source to justify my statement that all food should eventually decompose, but there are endless descriptions about how food decomposes from microbes. can anyone help me?

also, i appreciate your comment about the flies on dog shit. its a good point that made me laugh!

Anonymous said...

Sorry if that comment made me sound like a douche nozzle. I'm a bit hungry and cranky and could go for a good happy meal about now.

Posting anonymously on the internet is an occasional guilty pleasure. I bet with a little IP tracking you wouldn't have any problem tracking down who's posting ;)

Unknown said...

ah ha! i had my suspicions ;)

also, i'm saying that its an issue that flies are not attracted to the contents of the happy meal - i'm not saying i want to eat, or that humans should eat *everything* flies are attracted to.

Invader Xan said...

Urgh... It's not right! Not right, I say!

Anonymous said...

Actually if th ebox was closed how would flies and fungal spores etc get in? It looks like its dessicated and the fact it dried out before rotting is probably a tribute to first the cleanliness of macdonalds and secondly where it was stored for a year. It worked for the Pharaohs why not fast food? I enjoy fast food now and again, I just don't base my diet around it.

heroineworshipper said...

Should 1/4 of the world die of starvation so the rest of us can eat natural food? Perhaps science has gone too far. Perhaps it's time to rethink national priorities & science budgets for the sake of a more natural world.

mazlov said...

Qué lástima, con lo que me gusta el sabor de las porquerías que sirven en McDonalds...

David Gillies said...

Everything in moderation, including moderation. I'm type II diabetic so I have to eat a rigourously low-carb diet. My problem is weight maintenance. It's heading into danger territory for me to go below about 65kg but getting adequate calories from low-carb sources is hard (this is why Atkins works, never mind the ketosis etc.) So every so often I have a double quarterpounder with cheese and extra bacon from McDonald's (no fries.) In this instance, for me at least, junk food = health food.

And where I live, a Happy Meal would have rotted in days. I have to keep bread in the fridge otherwise it goes green in 36 hours. Leave meat out, even processed cooked beef, and you'll have cockroaches the size of Bic lighters over it by morning.