Why One Woman Has Kept The Same McDonald's Food In Her Pantry For Years

How long do you think your chicken McNuggets would last if you left them out on the counter? A few days? A week? What if it were two years? Well, according to TikTok user elifgkandemir, that may be something you want to think about next time you order food from McDonald's.

The user recently shared a video to the platform showing a cupboard stocked full with various fast-food items, including pizza slices, nuggets, croissants, burgers, fries, donuts, and more, claiming that some of the food on screen has been stored in the cupboard for upwards of two years without refrigeration. As the user opens the drawers to reveal a close-up look at the shocking contents inside, the on-screen text reads: "My mum is a nutritionist hoping to tackle obesity. These foods here are ultra processed foods that 80% of the UK consume on a regular basis."

The video has since racked up a whopping 3.4 million views and thousands of likes (as of this writing), with many expressing their sheer horror at seeing the nearly 2-year-old burgers and pizza slices not contain any mold spots. One commenter wrote, "Omg if this is 2 years old. Imagine how much our bodies strain to digest these processed foods. Yikes."

Some people took issue with the health claims made in the TikTok video

While many people showed support for elifgkandemir's video, with some even suggesting the experiment be transformed into a museum, others took issues with the video's overall messaging. Based on the comments, it seems some people viewed the implicit suggestion that processed food is one of the main reasons for widespread obesity to be a dubious claim. One commenter wrote, "... The food ain't the problem it's [sic] people over eating."

Others pointed out the need for people (and experts) to consider the greater socioeconomic factors which cause people to eat so much of the processed food featured in the video in the first place. In the comments section, user koezi noted, "Healthier food should be more accessible. This food isn't the desired diet for many but the most accessible sadly." This makes sense. As reported by the BBC News in 2018, the U.K. saw a near 34% rise in the number of fast-food restaurants throughout the 2010s. Cost is another important factor. As user pierreferaon pointed out, "I try to eat fresh but it's so expensive."

User @elifgkandemir has since acknowledged the criticism with a follow-up video that explained her mother's purpose for the experiment. "Most of the food she's been collecting is over two years old. 80% of people in the UK are eating this diet without even much knowledge of what they're eating." She then continued by pointing to a documentary involving a U.K.-based Dr. Tulleken (via YouTube) who ate predominantly fast food for a month and saw negative effects on the body " ... You can have everything and anything in moderation, [but] 80% of a person's diet should not be made of these foods," the user says in the video. "My mum is simply trying to encourage people to make better food decisions and live a happier, healthier lifestyle."

Many foods don't develop mold when left out, but that doesn't mean they're laden with chemicals

It's worth noting TikTok user elifgkandemir is not the first person to share images depicting how processed foods supposedly don't expire. According to Metro UK, last year, a separate TikTok user shared a video of their grandmother opening a box to reveal a perfectly un-molded McDonald's hamburger that was allegedly more than 20 years old. Additionally, more than a decade ago, one person from Iceland revealed they were able to leave a McDonald's burger on a table for six years without any signs of expiration cropping up (via Today), which prompted many people to question whether there was a presence of frightening preservatives in their food.

However, it turns out the reason fast foods don't mold as easily is not as scary as people may think. According to a 2017 article in Insider, McDonald's once released a statement that assured customers their food will in fact spoil if kept under certain conditions that allow microbes to grow, such as a humid environment. However, if the product loses enough moisture, over time it will simply dry out rather than forming mold, the typical physical signs of expiration. This may be the case with what's going on with the food in the cupboard featured on that original TikTok.

Still, it's likely most nutritionists would agree processed foods are something one should consume in moderation. The sodium content of some fast food dishes alone, like a McDonald's hamburger. is something that should give anyone pause before eating it, regardless of how long you can store it on your counter.