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Hamburger Experiment – Australia – By Students

What a way for children to learn about the poisons of fast food.

A student in Australia on August 14 2006 conducted this Hamburger Experiment.

The MacDonalds Hamburger remained unchanged on January 19, 2007 (since August 14 2006!)

My goodness, what are we feeding our families?



“An experiment conducted for a school project at Thirroul Public School, NSW, AUSTRALIA


To investigate the rate of decomposition of three types of hamburgers to see which will decompose the quickest.


That the homemade hamburger will decompose quicker than the fast food hamburgers.


One homemade cheeseburger

One McDonald’s Cheeseburger

One Hungry Jack’s Cheeseburger

Three transparent containers

Digital camera


1. Make homemade burger, using fresh mince, a few dried herbs, pepper. ( No salt added because salt is a preservative). Add a slice of cheese and place on fresh bun from bakery. Buy fast food burgers same afternoon.

2. Place each burger in a transparent container and close lid. Leave lids closed, so no other air gets in. Air has bacteria, and this could affect the results.

3. Place in sheltered area ( inside house, garage etc). Warning – they may smell after a while!

4. Observe and record any changes at :

  • 1 week
  • 2 weeks
  • 3 weeks etc.

Take photos at each stage.


After 1 week……

The Homemade burger has some white fuzzy patches growing on the bun and a small patch of green mould growing on the meat patty.

There are no changes in either of the fast food hamburgers.

After 2 weeks…..

The Homemade burger is growing more mould and white fuzz.

There are no changes to either of the fast food burgers.

After 3 weeks….

The Homemade burger is getting mouldier and fuzzier!

The Hungry Jack’s burger has a tiny spot of black mould on the bottom.

No change to the McDonald’s burger.

After 4 weeks…….

The Homemade burger is smelly and looking terrible!

Black mould spots are getting bigger on the Hungry Jack’s burger.

No change to the McDonald’s burger.

After 5 weeks……

The Homemade burger is getting mouldier and smellier!

The Hungry Jack’s burger is covered in black mould spots.

The McDonald’s burger is STILL unchanged!!


I think I can now conclude that the Homemade burger will decompose more quickly than fast food burgers!

I am going to keep the McDonald’s burger until it changes, so stay tuned!

October 21st Update:

The McDonald’s burger is STILL unchanged!

This experiment was the beginning of a larger experiment where I used three of each type of burger.

Although some mould grew on the other fast food burgers, mould always grew on the homemade burgers within a week, and were all completely covered in mould by three weeks!

I have included some photos of the other burgers – check out this link !

October 28 Update:


This experiment has just been awarded first place AND Best Primary Project at the recent ( Oct 24, 2006) Illawarra Regional Science Fair! Here is a link to the site. Click on the ‘2006’ event for more info.

Many thanks to Mr M. for encouraging us at school to participate.

January 19, 2007 Update:

The McDonald’s burger is still unchanged!

February 2, 2007 Update

Have just heard that the experiment has received a“Certificate of Merit” at the Australian National BHP Billiton Science Awards.

February 27, 2008 Update

I have just put the hamburgers in the bin as they were turning into black sludge (except for the Macca’s burger…althouh it had changed a bit!) Most of the burgers were quite smelly in our garage, so a decision had to be made…..18months after being made or purchased, they are no more…bit sad really!

Now…I could do it all over again……!


August 24, 2009 - Posted by | Healthy Alert

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