(NaturalNews) Here’s a story to file in the “gross” category.
For two years, a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries, along with a Taco Bell soft shell chicken taco, have sat on display, unwrapped and uneaten. That’s not the big deal. The eye-opening shocker is that 24 months later, they still look as fresh-from-the-kitchen as they did the day they were served. Even more disturbing, bugs won’t even go near the junk food.
Wayne State University Assistant professor of food science Yafan Zhang says that the ability for this food to look the same today as it did two years ago is due to a not-so-surprising fact: they’re laden with preservatives.
Most health-conscious people are aware that fresh, quality food will show signs of spoiling within a specific time frame. Lettuce wilts; apples brown and soften; cucumbers can become moldy. Foods laden with preservatives, on the other hand, are designed to last significantly longer and withstand the onset of spoilage. It’s why the fast foods mentioned above, which were put on display at Michigan’s Vaughn Chiropractic to illustrate the importance of choosing healthier foods over junk foods, haven’t changed in appearance.(1)
“It’s basically mummified,” says health expert of displayed junk food
“There’s no smell from it, it’s basically mummified,” said Vaughn Chiropractic’s Dr. Jacqueline Vaughn. “You can pick it up, turn it over and still see the cheese and pickle in the burger. Even in the summer when we get ants, the bugs won’t go near it.”(2)
Food preservatives such as calcium propionate and sodium propionate are used to help baked good from growing mold and succumbing to spoilage. Buns, pies, cakes, pizza and pastries typically use such preservatives, which can wreak havoc on the body.
Health damage linked to food preservatives and additives
For example, calcium propionate and sodium propionate have been linked to stomach lining damage, negatively impacting its ability to heal. Gastritis, as well as serious ulcers can occur with excessive consumption of such products. They’re also tied to migraine headaches and are thought to transcend physical ailments too. One study showed that ongoing ingestion of calcium propionate in children led to significant behavioral changes such as sleep disturbance, restlessness and irritability. When the children stopped eating such foods, those behaviors went by the wayside and more desirable behaviors were restored.(3)
Other additives and preservatives also have the ability to jeopardize health. They’re not just used to keep meats lasting for a long time in supermarkets and in consumers’ refrigerators but also used to keep food-borne illnesses at bay. To achieve this, deli meats are often injected with nitrates, chicken with sodium lactate, potassium lactate, hydrolyzed protein, monosodium glutamate and papain, and ground beef with binding chemicals such as carrageenan. All of these chemicals are associated with everything from causing stomach cancer to producing allergic reactions in people.(4)
Junk foods that don’t spoil not uncommon
The Michigan health office isn’t the first place to shed light on the shocking shelf life of junk foods.
A couple of years ago, a Utah man by the name of David Whipple made headlines when he discovered a forgotten McDonald’s hamburger in his coat pocket that had been there since 1999. Dubbed the “world’s oldest hamburger,” it barely showed signs of change in appearance from its purchase over 10 years ago.(5)
The idea of using such visuals to showcase unhealthy foods seems to create an impactful message to the public. Several health institutions, schools and other organizations have been known to display popular soft drinks and juices, their sugar content conveyed by filling a nearby container with the substance to illustrate how much is actually in every bottle.
Hopefully, these stories will make more people think twice about eating from fast-food chains and be more in tune to labels so that they avoid the likes of nitrates, calcium propionate, carrageenan and refined sugars.
Written by Jennifer Lilley