10-year-old McMeal on display2019.11.12
A DECADE on from McDonald’s shut down in Iceland (冰島), thousands of online viewers follow the live broadcast of the slow decay of its last order – a seemingly indestructible burger with a side of fries protected in a glass case like a precious gem.
The American chain closed its only three branches in Iceland during the subarctic island’s financial crisis in 2009, making it one of the few Western countries without a McDonald’s.
On 31 October of that year, just before the restaurant’s closure, Hjortur Smarason bought a set meal for conservation.
“I decided to buy a last meal for its historical value since McDonald’s was closing down,” Smarason, who works as a communications manager, said. “I had heard that McDonald’s [meals] never decomposed so I just wanted to see if it was true or not.”
Now the burger set is on display, like a work of art, inside a glass case at Snotra House, a hostel in southern Iceland. “People from around the world ... come here just to visit the burger,” said the hotel.
The display is also live streamed and receives up to 400,000 hits daily.
Addressing claims that its burgers appeared immune to decay, the company said in 2013 that “in the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose,” adding that “specifically moisture” was necessary.
With sufficient desiccation, they are “unlikely to grow mould or bacteria or decompose”. A University of Iceland food science expert said without moisture, “food will simply dry out”.
(This article is published on the Junior Standard on 12 November 2019)
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