happy meal disgustingIn another disgusting indictment of the horrible quality of McDonald's "food," an artist has created The Happy Meal Project. Sounds harmless enough, until you see what happens to the contents of a Happy Meal over a period of 143 days. Which is, nothing.

Sally Davies, the woman behind this project, decided to photograph the Happy Meal every few days to document the time it takes to spoil. While the burger is admittedly hard, the meal still looks like what you pulled out of your bag on Day One, hundreds of days later. No mold or decomposition -- just a chunk of processed food.

Over at Salon they explain how this could happen. One, of course, is that McDonald's menu items are highly processed, almost to the point of being inorganic. But less spooky explanations are still not making me jump for joy about the burger and fries target marketed to our kids.

McDonald's French fries, for example, which have repeatedly proven their hardiness to spoilage, contain citric acid as a preservative. But a bigger factor might be the fat content of the fries. About 50 percent of the total 250 calories contained in a small order of fries come from fat. "Anything that is high in fat will be low in moisture," says Barry Swanson, a professor at the Washington State University department of food science. And low moisture means less room for mold to grow.

The burger is also high in fat, pounded thin, and cooked at a high rate of heat, which will also decrease moisture.

So we can't blame the entire experiment on chemicals in the food, but instead a lovely combo of chemicals, fat, and sodium. Hungry yet?

Would you feed this to your kids?


Image via jasonlam/Flickr