[W/PHOTOS] What Burger Will Grow Mold First: McDonald's, In-n-Out, or TK Burgers? An Experiment

LP Hastings
Let the games begin

Many of us have heard this rumor: that if you leave a McDonald's hamburger out, indefinitely, it will never go moldy.

Plausible enough, right? The average McDonald's meal is filled with more mystery than the average show on Coast to Coast AM, right? Its nutritional value is so dismal we'd be better off eating cardboard, right? So, it would make sense that something so fake, so artificial, and so full of preservatives would not be able to house mold.

So, we at the Weekly, being as eager to jump on the McDonald's-hating bandwagon as everyone else decided to put this rumor to the test. Being the mature and reputable media organization that we are, it seemed that our results would somehow be more accurate. We would join the ranks of amateur experimenters like the staff at Refinery29 and good ol' Morgan Spurlock in our quest for more trash talk on fast food. Except, we decided to take things a step further. We decided to test McDonald's moldabilty against our local favorites--In-N-Out and TK Burger. Surely, these meals made from "real" ingredients would spore before our eyes. The results follow, and promise to be surprising, shocking, disgusting, and childhood-destroying, but most importantly, informative.


I learned in my college biology class, where I paid as little attention as possible, that experiments must follow highly rigorous steps and protocols to find accurate results. So when it came to setting up our fast-food experiment, I had to eliminate the variables. I purchased a small French fry and plain cheeseburger from McDonald's, In-N-Out, and TK Burger all in the same afternoon, one consecutively after the other, and brought them into the office.

Next, I set up shop on a desk in an undisturbed location, aka an unused office. I gingerly unwrapped each item and placed them on the lids of newly bought, plastic Tupperware, from Wal-Mart. Then, I set the Tupperware housing on top of the lids and popped them in place. This created an ultra-un-scientific container where passersby could survey the experiment without actually smelling it.


I returned to the office the next week and excitedly flipped on the lights in the um...lab. Safely, sealed within their containers, the fast food had begun to change. I thought that there would be flecks here and there, but the amount and the particular hosts were surprising.

The McDonald's fries were covered a third of the way with black-and-white fuzz. What is this trickery!? In Morgan Spurlock's version of the experiment, the burger went moldy within the first week but the fries never went moldy...ever! Yet our fries were spawning mutant bacteria, while the cheeseburger looked good enough to eat.

LP Hastings

TK Burger, on the other hand, was having the opposite experience. The cheeseburger had a patch of white and blue fuzz that looked to be the consistency of suede, while the fries were unscathed. This meal did, however, have a stronger scent when uncovered than the McDonald's.

Yet here comes the really disturbing discovery, the one that surprised us all. In-N-Out, upon inspection had almost no visual differences from the first day it was placed in the container. My perfect, natural, In-N-Out: what is happening to you?! The fries looked normal; the, burger too. The only sign that it had been sitting out for a week was a small white fringe that hung off of the edge of the bun like soft icicles. Then to add insult to injury, In-N-Out undoubtedly smelled the worst out of its competitors.

LP Hastings
Hardly any mold on In-N-Out.

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