The Burger

1996 McDonalds Hamburger logo design by genie

I’ve created this page to keep up with things that happen re: the 1996 McDonald’s hamburger – if you scroll down to the every bottom you can see the latest happening.

At my blog Best of Mother Earth we talk about the value of nutritional supplementation, the alternative food market, green advocacy and a bit of whatever else comes along.

The story of the 1996 McDonalds burger is simply this:

I posted a picture  a few years ago of a McDonald’s Hamburger that I had bought in 1996.

It looked just like the day I bought it.

The post went viral.

What does that mean?

That means the post went absolutely wild on the interweb!!

Like crazy.

I don’t want to be known as the burger lady.   OK?  But I am!

Somehow thanks to the power of the interweb the 1996 McDonald’s Hamburger  continues to have a  perpetual life of it’s own.

Are you curious what the heck the story of burger is all about?

The original post is here

After that post blew out my bandwidth,  I wrote an FAQ

Folks seemed to have ALOT of questions.

Folks also had strong opinions – much of which was negative and pro-burger.

It reached a point where I let the comments speak for themselves.

Note:  I have not moderated a single comment.

This is my Burger Comment Policy

You can follow the burger on twitter

May 2010 — Molly Windman of ROCKET BOOM mentions The Burger and Karen Hanrahan!  Thanks John for the share!

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

The Burger finds its way to a Danish article over Memorial Day weekend – 3800 hits!! WOOT!  Update:  June 2 — 9000 hits!!

Got this sweet email From hopeful students in Denmark, Martin, Mathias and Nanna Hey Karen. We are from a school in Denmark who has heard about your experiment back in 2008 with a Mc.donals Burger. Now we are making our own paper and we want to ask you if we can use your picture of the Burger? We think it is a very good experiment and we want to show it in our paper.  Hope you will answer us.

June 2010 – Bill Flick Central Illinois  journalist writes humorous column about the burger

In July 2010 – A Canadian Mom and Jewelry Artist wrote:

We showed your post to my son when he was in grade 2 (2 years ago) and the teacher told us on interview day that my son had become a NO McDONALDS advocate! Apparently he went and told all the kids about this disgusting hamburger and why you shouldn’t eat McDonalds. He will not eat it unless we HAVE to (on the way home, starving and nowhere else to go). We have had it three times since then. I always regret it immediately after.I am so glad I decided to look this up again to reaffirm what I believe. Thank you!!

August 26th – Parallel to the project by NY Photographer Sally Davies

( Sally took a daily shot of a McDonalds Happy Meal  – 137 days and counting! ) 

NY Magazine’s Daily Food News section Grub Street referenced my burger

August 30th – The Toronto Star shares the same story of Sally Davies taking a daily image of a McDonalds Burger in the article my burger is also referenced!

From the above mentions – 9186 HITs on the burger post!

Sept 14th  2010 – SmartSpending ( ) writes about the burger

September 16th 2010 – Friends Eat – A foodie community quotes and links to the burger in a fantastic article about fast food wondering does it decay. The Spence Cooper article includes a fab video of a guy who’s been saving burgers since 1989!!

( love that noone believed his story either! )

September 17th – the above article appears in vigilant citizen

October 12th – Susan Shin – World News with Diane Sawyer ( ABC News) asks permission to share the burger image with a clip they are doing about “scary foods”

excuse me DIANE SAWYER ??

I hope you are well. I am writing to you from the show World News with Diane Sawyer. I am writing in regards to your fascinating photo of the two McDonald’s hamburgers and their lack of mold.

We wanted to show your photo on our show tonight in an item we are doing relating to how McDonalds produces these scary food products. May we have permission to air your photo?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Susan Shin


Susan Shin

Production Associate

World News with Diane Sawyer

ABC News

MORE – Oct 12th 

More pressing news that day had the burger story put to the back burner

Brett Michael Davies writes a  Burger Yahoo News Article

Traffic completely blows out my site!

High volume of referring traffic comes from this serious seats post 

Oct 15th

A canadian client shared this link and comment:

Pat Kiernan is host of NY1 morning TV – from Edmonton originally and a good contact friend in NY.  Pat’s Papers Smartly Selected US newspaper stories

October 18th – William Leith of writes that McDonalds isn’t making one fat – greed is – he shares about three woman, three mummified burgers. Hmmmm.

I guess if I were to comment on that I’d say:

foods “designed” to be addictive add to the obesity epidemic. It’s the greed of those making and designing food that is an issue.

Oct 25th Dr. Mercola adds the image of the 14 yr old burger in an educative article of interest at his website.

Oct 28th – I get an email  that says — Am US correspondent for SPIEGEL TV, a German tv program and doing a story about the burgers that won’t die. Am interested in yours and in speaking with you. Thank you! Karin

Oct 29th – We did a phone Interview – re: burger that will not die

US Correspondent Karin Assman

1202 National Press Building
Washington, DC 20045
t 202 347 1735
c 202 288 1605

November 4th

Spiegel TV Filming for Interview in my home re: the burger. 

camera man zooming in….

November 5th – Revisiting the Myth of the 12 Year Old Burger.

December 31stThe 20 Most Spine Chilling Food Issues Of 2010

January 10th, 2011  Portuguese non-profit animal rights magazine Paralelo requests permission to share burger image. Example issue

We run a new (non-profit) online magazine on animal rights that makes a lot of parallels between other movements and general concerns, from environment and sustainability to civil rights.

We’re publishing a small article about Sally Davies’ Happy Meal Project and I found your blog where you show impressive images of a much older hamburger. I would like to know if this burger still exists, and if so, if you wouldn’t mind sharing those images with us so we can publish them alongside Sally’s photographs. (even if it doesn’t exist anymore, those photos still create an impact and we’d like to publish a note about it).

This will be for issue nr2.

Issue nr1 can be found here: (there’s no english version unfortunately, our magazine is in portuguese).

Kindest Regards,

On behalf of the editorial team of //PARALELO//

January 13th 2011, Huffington Post shares Dr. Mercola commentary about the presence of food additive TBHQ in McDonalds hamburgers.

March 21, 2011,  Jenn of Mother Nature Network posts a green mom profile about that burger lady!!

April 25th, 2011 Burger Post “dugg” in Poland! 1800 hits!

May 18th – News journal Ekstrabladet writes about the burger.

May 22 – Times Live talks about Getting McWasted and mentions blogger Karen Hanrahan – Best Of Mother Earth

June 21, 2011  Article – German online news Spiegel – never did see the film from the shoot Speigel TV did in my home this past fall. Oh well.

June 22, 2011 – Alarming McDonald’s Canada ” All – Access Mom Campaign”

Call to canadian mom bloggers – 3 chosen to get inside burger scoop and get to blog about it

Brilliant commentary from  Annie of PHD In Parenting

Amber Strocel explores what her voice is and why she wouldn’t apply to the all access campaign

Oct 15, 2011 – Karen Hanrahan and the burger find themselves on the syllabus of Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life  

Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust writes:  The 12 Year Old Burger Becomes Curriculum  

the mcrib, they say it’s a sandwich with quirky sense of humor – but what’s in it? 

mcrib and animal cruelty.

Mcgreen, is it greenwashing? European McDonald’s serves it up organic.  Perhaps it’s fair to support corporations that shift their business model, I find myself wondering why it’s only part of what they do vs the whole.  ( thanks Mary Hunt for bringing this to my attention)

1996 McDonald’s Hamburger now found in Urban Dictionary

December 18th, 2011   friend is eating breakfast – reading her paper –> she says — wow – there’s Karen and that burger again – in of all places The Chicago Sun-Times. “People in Illinois and the fun things they do!”

I couldn’t find it online 😦

January 11th  a producer for Jonathon Brandmeier/ WGN Radio in Chicago contacted me – she said:   I read about the burger you’ve kept for 14 years on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” – amazing! Johnny would love to talk to you about that and also about your work as a wellness consultant. We’re a morning show, on the air M-F from  6-9 AM….if you’re usually available in the mornings, let me know if you’re interested and we can set-up a time to chat.

Thank you!

Brandmeier Show | WGN Radio & NBC 5, Chicago

Hear the WGN interview – it’s really funny!!!

Jan 2012 sometimes the burger post will get a ton of referring hits from another blog, this one while written in 2010 is in russian!!

Jan 2012 — I was wondering why I was getting tumblr referral traffic – very cute hamburger tumblr profile

Feb 2012 – Best of Mother Earth and the burger friend a local childhood obesity campaign and project.

More from Bill Flick in his column about the burger and I 

He writes:

• Stop by to say happy birthday to her sandwich: If looking for something a bit different this weekend, here’s one idea:

On display Sunday from noon to 2 in the Old Main Room at ISU’s Bone Student Center- a 16-year-old hamburger.

Purchased back in 1996 at a fast-food restaurant by Karen Hanrahan, the local healthy-diet guru, and stored in a drawer of her home, unrefrigerated, in its original container, the burger is said to now be crumbling a little and has an “odd smell,” but – thanks to the chemicals and preservatives injected into fast-food today – looks almost exactly like it did 16 years ago.

Will there be petrified fries with that?

Central Illinois News reports

Meet the “Burger Brothers” 

more event images here

image credit by Karen Hanrahan

the infographic below is sourced from here.  the post,  written by Beth Buczynski asks which of these shocking statistics is new to you?

The detail about fountain drink dispenser and fecal matter seriously grossed me out.

more on pink Slime:

1. “70 Percent of Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains ‘Pink Slime’” ABC News, March 7, 2012

2. “Schools will get to opt out of ‘pink slime’ beef”, Associated Press, March 15, 2012

3. “Pink Slime: Combo of Connective Tissue, Scraps Hidden In Your Kid’s Lunch”, FoxNews, March 8, 2012.

4. “Partners in ‘slime’: Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches”, The Daily, March 5, 2012

5. “Partners in ‘slime’: Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches”, The Daily, March 5, 2012

6. “BPI’s Response to Outrage over Ground Beef? 3 Governors and a T-shirt”, Appetite for Profit, March 30, 2012

7. “Partners in ‘slime’: Feds keep buying ammonia-treated ground beef for school lunches”, The Daily, March 5, 2012

8. “Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned”, The New York Times, December 30, 2009

Two Sides To The Story ?  Beef Is Beef  What do you think?

Jan 2012 — Best of Mother Earth is interviewed by Jonathon Brandmeier on Chicago’s WGN! The interview is really funny!

SEPT 2012 — Jamie Oliver of The Food Network inquires about “the burger”

2 Responses to The Burger

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