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The Last McDonald’s Burger in Iceland Just Turned 10 And It Still Looks Edible

Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where McDonald’s doesn’t operate in. The fast food giant closed its last restaurant in the Northern-European country a decade ago, but the last burger they ever sold has been carefully preserved and it still looks surprisingly edible.

On October 31st, 2009, Hjortur Smarason had the honor of purchasing the last McDonald’s burger sold in Iceland, just before the restaurant’s final closing time. Like many of us, he had heard rumors that McDonald’s food doesn’t decay, and preserving the last burger sold in his home country gave him an extra reason to see if the rumors were true or not. He put the burger and the small order of french fries in a plastic bag and left it untouched for three years.

“I decided to buy a last meal for its historical value since McDonald’s were closing down,” Smarason told AFP. “I had heard that McDonald’s never decomposed so I just wanted to see if it was true or not.”

After keeping the sealed bag in his garage for three years and seeing that the food still looked edible, Hjortur Smarason lent it to the National Museum of Iceland for a few years. Then the last McDonald’s order in Iceland was moved to the Reykjavík Bus Hostel for a while, before being moved to Snotra House, a hostel in Thykkvibaer in southern Iceland, where it is on display like a work of art inside a glass case.

You would think people wouldn’t care too much for a decade-old McDonald’s burger and some fries, but you’d be wrong. Sigurdur Gylfason, the owner of Snotra House, claims that people from all over the world visit his establishment just to see the last McDonald’s order in Iceland. It’s become so popular that there’s a live feed web cam on it at all times, and people actually log on to check on it. The Icelandic hotel claims it receives up to 400,000 hits daily.

While the 10-year-old burger and fries order has been a boon for Snotra House in recent years, it hasn’t exactly been a marketing success for McDonald’s. With people asking if the restaurant’s food was immune to decay, it had to come up with an official statement, explaining that “in the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose,” and the “specifically moisture” was necessary for that to happen.

 

“In order for decomposition to occur, you need certain conditions — specifically moisture. Without sufficient moisture — either in the food itself or the environment — bacteria and mold may not grow, and therefore decomposition is unlikely,” the fast food giant stated.

A Snotra House spokesperson reportedly confirmed that apart from the burger bun hardening, the food hasn’t decomposed at all.