The Happy Meal Project


Real or hoax? Sally Davies purchased a McDonald's happy meal in April 2010 and, three years later, the burger and fries remain intact - no mold or deterioration. For those upper elementary and early middle schoolers interested in food science - i.e. natural and synthesized food preservation - this could be a fun project to explore further.

To make it a fair comparision, pit the McDonald's burger and fries with similar meals from other restaurants, etc;

  • A mid-range burger joint - i.e. Five Guys Burgers and Fries, In-N-Out Burger, etc.
  • A burger joint that uses only organic/grass-fed beef and ingredients - i.e. The Rail, Flip Side, etc.
  • A burger and fresh cut fries made in your home.

Of course, you'll want to label the samples and store them all in the same place in order to keep all environmental variables the same for each sample, etc.

A few notes...

  • Since you'll be working with food that will likely start molding/decomposing, you'll want to find a way to contain smells
  • Be sure to get the nutrition facts/ingredients for each meal. Many restaurants have their menus and nutrition information online, but you can also ask for it when you pick up the food. Additionally, keep packaging for foods made at home.

While we haven't done the project ourselves and aren't , it might be a fun one to check out and prove (or disprove) the story of the "3 Year Happy Meal"!

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