SYDNEY • A McDonald's burger bought in 1995 and kept in an Australian shed for years has never decomposed, according to two men who now refer to the quarter-century Quarter Pounder as their "mate".
Mr Casey Dean, 39, and Mr Eduards Nits, 38, claim they ordered the Quarter Pounder with cheese from a McDonald's outlet in Adelaide as teenagers - and have hung on to it ever since.
"Being teenagers, we ordered a truckload of food and it was just way too much," Mr Dean told Agence France-Presse. "It started a chain of events where we were joking, 'imagine if we kept this forever', and here we are."
Though the burger has shrunk a little from its original size, its shape remains intact, there are no signs of mould and it does not smell.
"Even the sesame seeds are still on there, just a few have been knocked off," Mr Dean said.
The men say their relationship with the Quarter Pounder will span 25 years by November next year, a milestone even many marriages fail to reach. They believe it is the oldest-known McDonald's burger in the world, outranking a prominent decade-old cheeseburger that was displayed in a glass case in Iceland and was live-streamed online to thousands of viewers.
Storage for the ancient Australian burger has been rather less considered, though it has mostly been kept under lock and key in a box made of timber and cardboard.
That box spent about a decade jumbled up with clothing inside a shed in Adelaide, where temperatures regularly top 30 deg C in summer.
Mr Dean said he understood why some might be sceptical about their claim, but argues the old-school packaging - waxy paper and a cardboard ring - accurately date the burger to the mid-1990s.
A McDonald's spokesman did not dispute the assertion, saying the question of why some of its burgers do not decay has come up "from time to time", but there was a "simple explanation".
"The reason why our burgers sometimes don't go mouldy when left out at room temperature, in a dry environment, is that once the food is cooked, there isn't enough moisture to support bacterial growth to break it down," she said. "Instead, it simply dries out."
She advised that the best way to enjoy the fast-food chain's food was "when it's hot and tasty".