McDonald's: Despite what you've heard, our burgers decompose

Mickey D's talks moldy burgers, in what may be a response to a viral TikTok video.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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A not-yet-decomposed McDonald's cheeseburger.


Have you heard the one about the McDonald's hamburger that won't rot? There's even a guy who's laid claim to a decades-old Mickey D's burger that magically hasn't disintegrated. It seems McDonald's itself is tired of this story, which has almost reached urban legend status.

The global fast-food chain issued a statement this week titled "Response to myth that McDonald's burgers do not decompose." It's a short missive that may've been sparked by a recent TikTok video of a woman showing off what she says are a McDonald's burger and fries combo from 1996. She describes them as "completely intact."  

The video posted by @aly.sherb has more than half a million likes, which was likely more than enough to bring it to McDonald's attention. CNET reached out to McDonald's and will update if we hear back.

"In the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose," the company said. McDonald's then talked about the certain conditions required for food to get moldy and rot, specifically the presence of sufficient moisture.   

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"Look closely, the burgers you are seeing are likely dried out and dehydrated, and by no means 'the same as the day they were purchased,'" McDonald's noted. The company said it doesn't use preservatives or fillers in its beef patties. 

The legend of the immortal burger may be debunked, but there are still legitimate concerns about nutrition and fast-food consumption. So perhaps you might want to try one of these healthier, homemade substitutes