As the rest of the world experiences a plant-based revolution, Iceland was unknowingly 10 years ahead of the curve. In 2009, due to Iceland’s financial crisis, McDonald’s closed all locations within the country. Increased operational costs were cited as the reason. Anticipating a Mickey D-less Iceland, one curious citizen by the name of Hjortur Smarason decided to purchase the franchise's final burger and fries in the country.
Smarason heard rumors about McDonald’s immortal burgers and wanted to see if they were true. Apparently, and strangely enough, they never decompose. Fast forward and today marks 10 years since Smarason purchased Iceland’s last McDonald’s burger and fries. Since then, the only thing that has decomposed is the French fry box. The showcase of the meal's durability attracts 400,000 daily visitors to an online live stream set up by Smarason. You can watch the burger in a glass cabinet located at Snotra House, a hostel in southern Iceland. It’s claimed that people from all over the world visit to see the burger yearly.
Once upon a time, I used to be able to mash three double cheeseburgers, McChickens and fries in one sitting. Those are great memories, but I couldn’t imagine eating those now. Learning about something like this should make you curious about what’s in your food. Is it even food? One thing is certain, this isn’t the only time someone has tested the shelf life of McDonald’s food. A 1996 experiment by Karen Hanrahan resulted in a 12 year blemish-less hamburger. There have also been a handful of other similar experiments.
Nevertheless, despite Iceland’s McDonald's-free nation, the franchise is still a global behemoth. Health awareness is growing and people are becoming more critical of what goes into their bodies. As this happens, massive franchises like McDonald’s are being held more accountable. Hopefully, experiments like this will not only give us a laugh, but also bring about much needed changes to the food industry.