Would You Eat This 14 Year Old Hamburger?

In this episode of The Doctors, we’re introduced to a 14 year old hamburger that looks surprisingly young for its age.

Dr. Travis Stork dons medical gloves to protect his skin before beginning the examination of a hamburger purchased by miniature fast foodDavid Whipple  on July 7, 1999! Miraculously, the burger shows no signs of mold and no insects have eaten the hamburger, even though a child born on that day would now be in high school!

So what magical ingredient has kept this hamburger alive through three Presidents, the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina? Preservatives, and lots of them! This burger was not kept in a sanitary, sterile environment. As a matter of fact, Mr. Whipple states that the hamburger was entirely forgotten during the first year or two of its life.

The hamburger was purchased and then forgotten through a series of misadventures. It spent its first few months in a coat pocket in the back of Mr. Whipple’s truck. Eventually the coat made its way into the Whipple family’s coat closet, where the burger sat quietly for a year or two before being discovered by Mrs. Whipple. Because the hamburger was still in its original sack with the accompanying receipt, the Whipples were able to accurately date the purchase, and they decided then to keep the burger as a teaching tool.

What is the lesson? Dr. Jim Sears states it perfectly, “If the mold won’t eat it, if the fungus won’t eat it, if the bugs won’t eat it, maybe we shouldn’t be eating it.” Fast food may be fast, but if this burger is to be judged, it certainly isn’t food.

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Photo credit: Miniature fast food by Shimelle. Used under a Creative Commons license.