1995 and Counting: Nondecomposing Supermarket Cupcakes

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 78

A story has been making its way around the Web the past couple of weeks regarding a nondecomposing McDonald’s Happy Meal.     Sally Davies, a New York based photographer and artist, bought a Happy Meal back in April 2010 and left it out on a plate in her kitchen ever since to see what would happen.

The upshot of this homegrown experiment?   Other than an acrylic sheen, plastic like texture and becoming hard as a rock, no other discernible changes have occurred!

Davies’ science project has been photographed weekly and the results posted on Flickr for all to see and wonder about.    Should children really be given food that doesn’t decompose?

If bugs, mold and bacteria don’t want this stuff, how could this be counted as any sort of nourishment for children other than just empty calories?

What may be even more surprising, however, is that the lack of decomposition of McDonald’s fast food is not unique in the processed foods industry.

Oh no, not by a long shot.    Hold onto your hats everyone!

How about adding supermarket cupcakes (and other baked goods) to the list of foods that neither bugs nor bacteria want anything to do with!

You know what I’m talking about – the supermarket birthday cake that is served at just about every kids’ birthday party you’ve ever attended.     How about that cake you ate at your cousin’s wedding last summer?    Yes, even those delightfully decorated Halloween cupcakes you saw the other day in the supermarket bakery that seemed just perfect for the Trick or Treat get together this coming weekend!

Yes, all of it.    This stuff doesn’t decompose either!   It doesn’t even get moldy!

Best of all, I’ve got pictures!!

You see, many years back when I first began eating real food, I met Dennis Stoltzfoos, a local grassbased farmer who had a curious box of cupcakes sitting in his kitchen.    He explained that these cupcakes were from a party back in December 1995.

The box with the 3 remaining cupcakes never got thrown out, so it just kind of stayed in his kitchen for weeks, then months, now almost FIFTEEN YEARS later.

After seeing this story about the nondecomposing Happy Meal, I emailed Dennis and his wife Alicia to see if they still had this box of supermarket cupcakes.    They did, and Alicia snapped these photos taken only last week of the now 15 YEAR OLD cupcakes that now practically have artifact status!

Check it out! 

cupcakes1In this photo, you can still just make out the “1996” on the cupcake box label which indicated the expiration date for the cupcakes (it originally said “January 1996”).  The cupcakes were purchased in December 1995.

Kash n’ Karry, the supermarket where these cupcakes were purchased, no longer exists.  Kash n’ Karry supermarkets are now called Sweetbay Supermarkets.

cupcakes4Alicia Stoltzfoos told me that the sticky, sweet, artificial smell of the cupcakes was still very much evident when she opened the box to take this picture!

My hope is that parents who see this blog are motivated to never again buy supermarket bakery goods and to take the time to make a wholesome, homemade birthday cake/cupcakes with REAL ingredients for their children.

If it’s not good enough for bugs, mold and bacteria, it’s most certainly not good enough for your children!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Many thanks to Dennis and Alicia Stoltzfoos of Full Circle Farm for the pictures and story behind this blog.   Dennis, Alicia, and their four healthy, beautiful children own a leading edge, grassbased dairy farm in Live Oak, FL.   To contact them to find out more about nutrient dense, healing foods, email them at thisisdennis@windstream.net. 

Comments (78)

  • Carolynn@mylittlebitoflife.com

    I know I will show my ignorance, sorry. If you made homemade cupcakes with “regular” (all purpose flour, cane sugar) wouldn’t it do the same as the store bought stuff? I’ve only been attempting the real food journey for a year @ right now I’m struggling. I feel like almost everything has bad stuff. My kids aren’t eating my real food & complain a lot. It really breaks me down because I’m trying so hard & spending so much more time & money on food to eventually be thrown out because no one will eat it. I have noticed that some things I used to love just don’t taste as good. However, I still really miss cereal, muffins, & waffles. We have found a soaked recipe that’s pretty good. I’ve tried so many things with coconut flour & they don’t go over we’ll at all. We use coconut & olive oil. Still trying to find a good olive oil. Any suggestions or encouragement would be helpful because I feel very close to throwing in the towel right now! Sorry for any typos/grammar mistakes, I’m not retreading this! :)

    April 25th, 2013 10:23 am Reply
  • Crystal

    Gross! My homemade cupcakes go stale after a few days and need to be thrown away after about a week. No cupcake should look like that after fifteen years. Just think about the effect it must have on your insides when you ingest something like that. No thank you. It doesn’t take that long to whip up a batch of homemade cupcakes. I can’t believe that our society has gotten so lazy and used to convienience food that we’d rather eat a batch of pre-made cupcakes that look like plastic so many years later instead of spending twenty minutes making our own.

    April 25th, 2013 9:34 am Reply
  • Katie

    I read your blog all the time…thank you for the great info. I have a friend who is a personal trainer for a corporation and has the opportunity to share nutrition with many people. She has a 2 year-old dried-up McDonald’s hamburger she sets out by the scale as a fun prop to prompt conversation. One of her clients sent her this website with a guy who de-bunked the reason why it wasn’t rotting. It’s worth the read…do you have any thoughts?


    October 21st, 2012 9:05 pm Reply
  • Christy

    Thanks for your stand and information! I LOVE reading your posts, and I would definitely choose homemade ANY day of the week! Wish we had a co- op close to us, but we dont, and they also have that silly law about selling raw milk here in Ohio :(
    Keep up the good work!

    February 15th, 2012 4:35 pm Reply
  • Theresa AJ

    In one state I lived in and had my boys attend one year of public school, we were allowed to bring home-baked treats but not the frosting. Frosting had to be from a can. (Yuck) The current state I lived in required store bought treats or have a “food handlers card” if they were home made. My daughter’s teacher allowed me to bring home baked goods one Valentine’s Day, even though I didn’t have a food handler card. I have taken the test for one since then, and it makes certain that food safety is known.
    Food borne illness will cause a lot of sick days! A kids party at school is little excuse to let our kids eat junk, but if it’s that over being sickened by poorly handled food in dirty conditions, it is hard to decide which is worse! I had home schooled my kids a total of ten years, and was able to avoid issues such as these, most of the time. At least every day I knew what my kids were eating and learning.

    February 14th, 2012 5:28 pm Reply
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  • cupcake mummies

    I’m not saying that I want to eat those cupcakes, but this experiment doesn’t really prove much. The human body can be mummified under the right conditions so, of course, cupcakes can be too.

    October 13th, 2011 4:47 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    Actually, whether or not cupcakes mold just depends on how much moisture is in them. Last year on my son’s birthday I made him a little cake from scratch out of organic ingredients. He never actually ate. I still have it, it is exactly one year old and no mold or other signs of decay.

    September 10th, 2011 2:38 am Reply
    • mary maid

      can i offer to come clean your kitchen for you? what is it with people keeping old food around?

      April 7th, 2012 6:25 am Reply
  • Amber

    My store bought bread will mold sometimes and not mold other times. When it doesn’t mold it gets a very strong paint-like smell. ( i have a couple of sandwich holdouts – I must confess, I love my BLT’s to be all smooshy 😛 ). I don’t use a loaf of it before it gets scary.

    August 29th, 2011 12:20 am Reply
  • Sunny

    This anonymous poster is one of the reasons so many people are oblivious about real health and nutrition. I don’t understand why this person feels the need to defend processed, industrialized foods. I’m 28, but if you knew me, you would think I was much older because I don’t do things like most people I know. When my daughter was 2 years old, I heard about organic milk and I was intrigued by it and wondered what the difference was between organic and conventional. I used to be one of those people who believed “health” experts, but I didn’t know any better at the time. I’ve taken the time and effort to research real foods and I’ll never go back to eating junk.

    People have gotten lazy and are always looking for an easy way out when it comes to food. I’m poor and my food budget is tight, but that doesn’t stop me from buying natural and organic meats, and other real foods to feed my family, nor does it stop me from taking the time to cook from scratch. I will no longer be a blind sheep who listens to these so-called health experts. I’m taking my health into my own hands. By the way, your site is great.

    August 9th, 2011 10:28 am Reply
  • Sunny

    I heard about the McDonald’s meal not decomposing, but 15 year old cupcakes! That speaks volumes about the foods people are eating. I’ve been on a journey of better eating and I’ll never go back to eating processed foods again. I never really was a big fan of processed foods anyway, but I would buy them sometimes, but I’ll stick to eating real foods. This is just ridiculous to think how many people are eating these foods and poisioning their bodies.

    August 9th, 2011 10:08 am Reply
  • Barbara

    That will surely remove any temptation to eat from a bakery. I quit eating hot dogs 30 years ago when I found out they had a half life of 750 years. I wonder what they half life of those cup cakes are?


    July 15th, 2011 9:14 pm Reply
  • Thomas DeKorte

    Wow. If that doesn’t motivate people to stay away from processed foods I don’t know what will.

    July 14th, 2011 3:27 pm Reply
  • Chris Huff

    What’s the red stuff on top of the cupcakes? Do I want to know?

    May 24th, 2011 10:34 pm Reply
  • Jennie@ Pure Homemaking

    I have heard about the McDonald’s happy meal that didn’t mold but that is just fowl. I never even bought that crap much before I started eating Real Food all the time because it just tasted gross to me. So fake tasting. Now I know why. I mean when you think about it, it’s bleached flour, bleached sugar, and artificial flavorings. But are there no eggs in it? Or dairy? You would think that would go bad. They must have used powdered eggs (eww) and dairy. SO GROSS!

    May 22nd, 2011 8:12 pm Reply
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  • Jeanmarie

    I eat Real Food and don’t support fast food companies or food manufacturers, and I’m put off by the anti-science attitude in response to comments by Anonymous, Hubert and others that made some good points. Food that dries out is not going to go moldy. That’s why, for instance, you dehydrate crispy nuts, so they will not go moldy. Remember the little wizened apple faces you make with apples you set on your kitchen window sill until they dry out? It seems to be something everyone does in elementary school. No scary chemicals to blame, just dehydration.

    I’m sure preservatives do make a difference with baked goods — that is their purpose, after all — but that doesn’t explain why McDonald’s hamburgers would fail to go moldy when left sitting out in a centrally heated or air-conditioned home, for instance. The same thing would happen to any meat that dries out, all else being equal. (We call that “jerky” when we do it on purpose, right?) To draw accurate conclusions, one would have to test various foods, both homemade and store-bought versions, under controlled conditions. And I agree, why bother? Because I wouldn’t eat the junk food anyway, whether or not it can get moldy.

    “Common sense” is very often wrong. There are still plenty of reasons to avoid junk food and highly manufactured “edible food-like substances,” to borrow a phrase from Michael Pollan, even though this little experiment is essentially meaningless.

    March 20th, 2011 10:09 pm Reply
    • Casey

      I wanted to say something, but couldn’t have worded it better myself.

      July 21st, 2011 6:30 am Reply
      • Tracy

        Ditto Jeanmarie and Casey. How something decomposes depends on a number of factors. Depending on the weather and/or season in my area, for example, a (homemade, etc etc) baked good left out on my counter will either a) get moldy or b) dry out, and not get moldy. Heck, leave a dead animal/person out in the right conditions, they won’t get moldy either – they’ll dehydrate and mummify. Doesn’t mean they are toxic or not good enough for bugs, etc.

        August 7th, 2011 2:17 pm Reply
  • Hubert

    pelicano is right: this is pseudoscience. It’s pseudoscience to derive causation from correlation without any good reason to do so. Just because some processed cupcakes don’t decompose doesn’t necessarily mean they’re full of toxins or so otherwise nasty that they’re “not good enough for bugs and bacteria”. The most likely reason for the nondecomposition is simply that the cupcakes do not contain any water. Nothing can grow without water, regardless of the level of nutrition.

    I imagine this is a very similar situation to the more infamous McDonalds burgers. Those examples of nondecomposition have been rather convincingly demonstrated to be nothing more than a case of dehydration, rather than high levels of toxins or anything else. See here for the best example of such science that I could find: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/the-burger-lab-revisiting-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-burger-testing-results.html

    This isn’t to say, of course, that processed foods are healthy. Far from it! Just that spouting pseudoscience does nothing to further the respectability of your blog. My mother today sent me a link to one of the articles here, which I rather enjoyed, but your attitude toward skeptics in the comments here did not incline me to trust the content of other articles. If you can’t seriously entertain the suggestion that a conclusion of yours might be in error, how would you ever know if you are wrong?

    December 21st, 2010 9:43 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Hi Hubert, I don’t need science to glean the obvious! I find it downright laughable that science is invoked in a situation like this. Where or where has common sense gone?

      December 21st, 2010 10:07 pm Reply
  • Kelli

    Well, I actually bothered to read all the comments and it amazes me that people would actually defend the junkfood companies at all. Well, preservatives may keep your food from getting moldy and in turn keep you from getting sick. But I would think even the most witless wonder could tell whether or not food is going bad and wouldn’t eat it. I guess all those non-decomposing hamburgers and junk cakes are clogging up their thinking abilities. Because that worthless junk stays in your body and causes a multitude of health problems. I would actually rather become sick off of moldy food than eat chemical junk. Heck, I rather eat catfood before I ate McJunk poor excuse for food.

    Looks like one of the pathological skeptics have invaded the comments, too. They always throw up their version of “science” as a shield, but in reality its pure paradigm dogma. Where is their controls?

    Its okay Sarah, you don’t need to get upset over them. We don’t need to waste time and energy fighting the enemies of abundance.

    December 19th, 2010 11:08 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Hey Anonymous, seems like you could use an IV of butter! And, who needs to brush off their manners? At least I put my name on my comments! LOL

    December 9th, 2010 10:06 pm Reply
  • Anonymous v.2

    You know, I am rather enthused with natural food. I’ve been canning and baking naturally a great deal, and am now looking into making my own cheese. I think the idea is wonderful and that my homemade offerings are a hundreds times more flavorful than their store bought counterparts.

    That said, having read all of these comments and several others besides, I feel the burning desire to point out that certain posters (being natural food purists, apparently) are snobs. Go ahead and call me names, a sheep, ignorant, WTFever you want, but you’re snobs. One person here says something about preservation being the point of chemicals in the store food, and you all jumped down her throat and belittled her instead of having a mature debate.

    Luckily I don’t care if I come off as mature. I just want to call it like I see it. If you want more people to come to your raw food POV you probably should try honey versus vinegar, because saying people are stupid for not being natural food consumers is only going to piss them off and call you cultists or edible neo-natzi’s. You should probably be courting their opinion, since you guys are the ones all up in arms about S510 (see? I’m in the know) which isn’t exactly a well known bit of legislation.

    So why don’t you brush off your manners and break out some of your natural, raw honey, and quit calling people who aren’t just like you idiots.

    December 9th, 2010 5:50 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    You have obviously never made a homemade cake from scratch Pelicano. When I make birthday cake or birthday cupcakes for my family, if I leave them out too long on the counter without refrigerating, they are covered in mold in just a few days. Can we say CLUELESS!

    December 7th, 2010 5:37 pm Reply
  • pelicano

    Actually, I think this whole article does nothing but highlight the ignorance of modern home-makers more than anything else. Why? Because no frosted cake- even those made entirely from scratch- would decompose under these conditions. Frosting has a high amount of sugar which, in proper ratio to moisture, can preserve food. Cake has very-little moisture, contains enough sugar to sterilize what little moisture there is, and increasingly-so as the cake dries. Sugar is a hygroscopic substance- like salt- which draws water out of living cells by osmotic action. Without water, single-celled, micro-organisms cannot thrive and multiply, thereby halting any chance of a culture.

    This is the premise behind old-fashioned jams, jellies and marmalades, which, at one time, were constructed to be kept without a vacuum-seal at room temperature. Modern preserves- analogous to these- contain somewhat-less sugar and must be kept in a vacuum-seal and then, upon opening, under refrigeration.

    I think any food scientist would see through the pseudo-science put forth by this “experiment” and that of the viral McDonald’s one. Bread dries. Meat dries. French fries dry. ketchup is preserved by sugar and vinegar.

    And no, I do not work for any of these corporations. I research traditional methods of preserving food, and post recipes on my blog.

    December 7th, 2010 4:09 pm Reply
  • Jill C

    What’s really funny/odd about Anonymous is that they actually trust a minimum wage bakery employee at a grocery store to have better hygiene practices than a mom who is feeding her kid. Wake up! It’s processed food that is making everyone sick, not homemade cupcakes!

    December 7th, 2010 11:23 am Reply
  • Elizabeth

    I LOVE this post! Lately my 13 year old has been pestering me to buy her some cupcakes at the store and I told her no, telling her that they’re not real food and full of chemicals. Now I have pictures to back me up! I posted it on my facebook page for everyone else to see too.

    I also really appreciate the banter with “Anon” who thinks that, a. processed food is safer (ha!), and b. that life expectancy is going up (double ha ha!). I’m a nurse practitioner and I see mostly elderly folks. My last position was with the VA. The oldest vets who only take maybe an aspirin and a vitamin everyday (like my 95 year old grandma) and who grew up on farms, eating real food and making “do” are the ones who are the healthiest and obvioulsy living the longest. Those who are younger, who smoke, who dd drugs when they were younger, who have the doughnuts on the counter when I visit (I do home care), the boxes of cereal and packaged mixes, who eat at the Olive Garden weekly (or worse, Denny’s, etc.), do the buffets, etc. are overweight, have diabetes, heart problems, heart attacks and strokes, chronic skin infections, and all kinds of other maladies that make them homebound long before they should be and incapacitated such that at 65, they die of pneumonia or lung disease or cancer or stroke. There is a stark contrast between those who have lived a relatively “clean” life and those who haven’t. I see it everyday. I take their histories, I see how they live. What you are talking about here is not “fluff” science. It’s the truth that I see on a daily basis. And if someone doesn’t believe it, it’s probably because they don’t go visit grandma often enough or they don’t listen to what she’s telling them. Listen to your elders-it just might save your life!

    December 2nd, 2010 5:00 pm Reply
  • Adrienne

    That is beyond disgusting. But it's also sad because so many parents feel like they don't have time to make healthy, wholesome and DELICIOUS baked goods for their children. Too many times, I volunteer at a school party only to see them serving this kind of junk. In fact, many kids in my son's class won't even eat things that don't come out of a package…

    It led me to offer to write 'nutrion guidelines' (complete with a 'tester' recipe) for my daughters' pre-school program. I hope it will help at least one parent.

    It is very basic stuff (seemingly) but I will post the brochure and handout this week at soulfude.com in case anyone wants to use it…


    November 22nd, 2010 3:43 pm Reply
  • Katie @ This Chick Cooks

    That is disgusting! I try not to buy that stuff, but it does make me wonder about processed food in general- crackers, oreos, lunch meat etc…

    November 1st, 2010 1:29 pm Reply
  • Katie Riddle

    That is FOUL! and a very powerful picture. I think I'm officially cured of any desire to eat conventional, store-bought baked goods.

    November 1st, 2010 3:28 am Reply
  • Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer

    Oh my gosh, so gross. We no longer eat McD's even on occasion…now I will no longer be eating cupcakes that have not come from my kitchen! Ilove motivation like this, keep us from getting any bit lazy. Thanks!

    October 29th, 2010 3:24 pm Reply
  • Bamboo

    I have photos of where some grocery store bakery frosting got on my grass when I was washing out the free buckets. Not only did it kill the grass… It turned the spots BLACK. Over a month later the spots are still black with not a blade of grass growing back. The grass fire area that was charred nearby is growing back and healthy; but the spots in my yard that got frosting on it that we feed our children in this country is still dead. Scroll down here if you want to see a picture. Scary!


    October 28th, 2010 9:58 pm Reply
    • linda hafenbredl

      Bamboo and Sarah, thank you for the powerful stories and pics, which will remind me to keep me away from these noxious “foods”.

      June 14th, 2011 1:20 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Trix, your sourdough bread would definitely decompose after 15 years, I assure you.

    October 28th, 2010 1:25 am Reply
  • trix

    I usually leave my homemade sourdough bread unwrapped on the cutting board…cut side down, it slowly just gets hard and dries out after about 4 days and doesn't mold. If I put the same bread in a plastic bag it probably will start to mold after a few days…at least here in FL. (I usually freeze what ever loaves we can't use within 3 or 4 days…sliced to take out by the slice)

    October 28th, 2010 1:07 am Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Anonymous, as of 2008, the US is now ranked 42nd in the world in life expectancy. In the 1950's, we were at the top.

    During the Vietnam war, close to 90% of men age 19-24 were considered fit for military service. A study done a few years ago found that only 25% of men age 19-24 were fit for military service.

    Sarah is absolutely right, the people who live the longest are the ones who were born before World War 2 and grew up on unprocessed food. They are the only reason the life span seems higher.

    I knew a number of people in their 50's and even their 40's who have died in the last few years, died from cancer, heart attacks, lung problems, drug reactions, you name it.

    The United States has the deadest, most chemical heavy food in the world. Truth is,it is destroying our health and killing us.

    I respectfully suggest that you go to the website of the Weston A Price Foundation and do some reading about real food and how nutrition really works.

    October 28th, 2010 12:06 am Reply
  • Anonymous

    Sarah, truly am sorry about your friend. All I can do is relate the facts and the facts are that we live longer now than ever before. I am waking up to the reality that I may outlive my retirement if I don't plan for it. And lastly, thanks for the information as it may make for a great science project for my kids….next year since I need to go buy some of those cupcakes now and let them sit for a year. Interested in the results?

    October 27th, 2010 10:41 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Posted for Amy P.

    My husband's work buys holiday cupcakes every year. One year, one of his
    fellow employees left a cupcake on his shelf. Months llater the cupcake still looked the same, so, out of curiousity, he just left it there. He added a new cupcake every year for at least 10 years. Without touching the
    cupcakes, you couldn't tell the difference between the first and the last.

    October 27th, 2010 7:22 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hey Anonymous, you are kidding yourself with the life expectancy mumbo jumbo. The folks under 55 are dropping like flies in case you haven't noticed. I just had a 40 year old friend have a STROKE the other day and she is not overweight and in fantastic shape. The folks that are living a long time are the folks that were born BEFORE WWII and grew up without processed foods. WAKE UP!!!!!

    October 27th, 2010 6:29 pm Reply
  • My5wmd

    I have occasionally found various pieces of healthy, homemade food forgotten by a child in my house (crust of bread under the edge of the couch, carrot stick behind the table leg, etc.) that has dried out before any mold has grown. I do live in the desert southwest, so our relative humidity is quite low, but I just wanted to say that although not common, it is certainly possible for good, completely natural food to age without decomposing. The fact that this can happen should in no way be construed to mean that preservative-filled food has any nutritional merit, only that in certain circumstances, you can get unexpected results, like food remaining "pristine" well beyond it's due date, regardless of it's nutritional value.

    October 27th, 2010 3:00 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Life expectancy in the US has increased by over 10 year in the US since 1970. Of course, I could say that this is because of "Big Food" or maybe in spite of big food and better medicine. Or maybe it is just as obvious as the sun coming up tomorrow. Sarah, why don't you look in that crystal ball of yours and tell us which it is. Nice science!

    October 27th, 2010 2:15 pm Reply
  • Melodie

    I can't say I'm very surprised. Eating those cupcakes and cakes, especially the ones from the "cheap supermarkets" like Walmart, always grosses me out. It's like you can taste the plastic! That's why I'm a big fan of making my own. Grew up with it that way, and continue to live the tradition.

    October 27th, 2010 1:33 pm Reply
  • Pavil The Uber Noob

    I think 'ornery' is part of your charm, Sarah :)
    FWIW, I'll take your's and Stanley's cooking over Sara Lee's any time.

    October 26th, 2010 11:53 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Of course the preservatives contribute but they are not the only factor. Sorry to be so ornery, but I never cease to be amazed at how people can possibly defend the corrupt practices of Big Food.

    October 26th, 2010 10:01 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Paul, it is amazing. And frightening. But it shows the power of propaganda.

    It is wonderful that we have websites like this one, where we can share what we know, from our own experience, which is much more valuable than corrupt, purchased studies.

    October 26th, 2010 9:51 pm Reply
  • Pavil The Uber Noob

    Astonishing, somebody actually championing sterile, denatured food.

    October 26th, 2010 8:35 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    actually my son had an experiment with bread to see if it would mold faster wet or dry. The bread used was Sara Lee Soft n smooth wheat; the dry one didn't mold at all the entire school year! So preservatives (which are part of the chemicals you're talking about) probably do contribute…

    October 26th, 2010 7:56 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    NO – regular bread from the store with preservatives will mold! Its much more than preservatives that is causing this food to stay plastic for years. It's chemical cake – it's not food at all.

    October 26th, 2010 6:30 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Oh, and anonymous, by the way, I guess we can't draw any conclusions that the sun will come up tomorrow without a controlled study either, right? It's thinking like yours that has our children in such a big MESS health-wise in this country.

    October 26th, 2010 6:28 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Isn't that the purpose of preservatives? They are designed to keep food from growing mold or bacteria that can actually make you sick. What would I rather my children have, something made by someone with bad hygiene made from God knows what or something from Publix? That doesn't even take into account someone who may purposefully choose to make my child sick. Better yet, leave the treats at home.

    October 26th, 2010 6:25 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Anonymous, you don't need a controlled study to see the obvious .. cupcakes made with Real Food would AT LEAST get some mold on it within a few days. Are you for real with this ridiculous attempt to defend the chemical cake from the supermarket bakery? You are a fool if so.

    October 26th, 2010 6:23 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    This is ridiculous speudo-science. Once something dries out completely, of course nothing (mold, bacteria) will decompose it. A real experiment would be to make your own cupcake/burger, etc. and put it next to the same store bought food and expose both to the same conditions. Over time, then you could actually make intelligent and relevant comments. Without a control to compare to, you can't draw any conclusions.

    October 26th, 2010 6:13 pm Reply
  • Nancy Teas-Crain

    Thanks for posting those pictures. I have forwarded the email to several people. My father-in-law once purchased some commercial blueberry bagels. They sat in the cupboard all summer and never molded. It was amazing. Bagels from the bagel shop in town will mold in a few days if not refrigerated.

    October 26th, 2010 5:40 pm Reply
  • Pavil The Uber Noob

    Kind of sad to realize that the vast majority of Americans have never tasted real food. As a culture, we have no idea how impoverished we have become.

    October 26th, 2010 4:59 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Have you seen the photos people have on the web of store bought ice cream that when left out, never melts? Initially some liquid comes off but when left out you end up with a spongey solid mass. At heavenlyhomemaker.com she shows what happened mext to her homemade ice cream.

    October 26th, 2010 4:43 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Mama Bean, my homemade birthday cake will get furry with mold in less than a week if I leave it out as a comparison with the chemical cake from the supermarket bakery.

    October 26th, 2010 3:44 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    hi sarah~

    thanks so much for this post!! it was the instigation i needed to write the email that has been brewing in my head for awhile – regarding getting my children's preschool to change their policy on "approved" snacks. as it stands now, it is to be unopened and prepackaged!!! ack!! i attached you blog as evidence that the fake baked goods from the store are doing our kids more harm than good. now i'm going to get to be the one in charge of executing the change and educating the moms on nutrition…..eek. all this to say, thank you for your daily shining beam on help:-) ~*ginny
    fleurmama3 at mac dot com

    October 26th, 2010 3:42 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    This is the cause of heart disease not the healthy saturated fats from pastured animals (or the coconut oil.)


    October 26th, 2010 3:35 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth

    Makes me think about all the landfills, or even compost piles that might have non decompsing food-like items in it….

    October 26th, 2010 3:24 pm Reply
  • Mrs. Mac

    Wow … I need to show this to my family. They seem to forget about nutrition when I'm gone for a day or two. Hubby's last hold out is waxy chocolate donuts .. yuck!

    October 26th, 2010 3:14 pm Reply
  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    Margarine does the same thing. A friend of mine said someone threw a tub of the stuff on the cement outside her dorm in college and it splattered everywhere — and stayed there. Nothing touched it.

    On the other hand, the sprouted bread I buy goes moldy in less than a week if I don't put it in the freezer. I have three apples sitting out, decomposing right now.

    We've also noted that flies and gnats in our home seem most attracted to organic produce. When my husband opens a new jar of home-canned organic pears, they rush to it. Kombucha spills are also a favorite of bugs. Hmm…maybe we should take our cues from them?

    October 26th, 2010 2:34 pm Reply
  • Stanley Fishman

    Great post!Thank you again for showing what factory food is made of. This garbage is not food!

    This shows how powerful propaganda is, that people would actually eat this stuff in complete ignorance that it is just chemical slop.

    October 26th, 2010 2:23 pm Reply
  • Mama Bean

    So I wonder if anyone has taken pictures of these frankenfoods' REAL counterparts decomposing, for comparison? Just playing devil's advocate. I can imagine skeptics asking what our hamburgers and cupcakes look like after weeks and months. (Although normally, if they don't get eaten by people, animals and/or compost will get the treat pretty soon.)

    October 26th, 2010 2:21 pm Reply
  • Jenny

    Sarah, this was such a valuable post! I gathered my children around the monitor and read it to them aloud. I loved seeing their reaction, and hope it will help them to think twice before accepting the junk that is regularly offered to them when outside our home.

    We have been battling ants in our kitchen for the past couple of weeks. After reading this article, my 9yo. son remarked "Hey, that's why the ants keep coming to our kitchen…they know there's REAL food there!" HA!

    October 26th, 2010 2:16 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Wow… 15 years… I know when I leave my homemade soaked GF flatbread out of the fridge for more than 2 DAYS it gets moldy. Even bread from Publix that my hubby eats gets moldy within 2-3 days. These days I bake all the treats for my family. If I have to buy something for my gluten-eating family, I usually go to a local market or Whole Foods – at least I can pronounce all the ingredients on the label and they're baked with butter, not canola or soybean oil.

    October 26th, 2010 2:01 pm Reply
  • Lisa Wallen Logsdon

    This would be hilarious if it wasn't such a serious topic. I can think of a lot of people that I need to send this to. I am addicted to label reading, my adult children roll their eyes at me all the time because I read the ingredients of the garbage they are getting ready to feed my grandchildren, but now and then I have a weak moment and think I'm going to give in and buy bakery goods at Publix. My label reading always saves me. The list of chemicals in the ingredients never fails to make me change my mind!

    Had to share this one with hubby as we got our first taste of raw milk from Dennis when we bought a beef from him years ago. We were frustrated because we couldn't buy any milk from him due to a *situation* they were having at the time with padlocks. It was over a year later I finally discovered the Lutz co-op right in my own backyard.

    October 26th, 2010 1:27 pm Reply
  • Dr. Laura Aridgides

    That is nasty! And shocking, and unfortunately, not a surprise at all considering what food is made of these days. Thanks for sharing Sarah!

    Dr. Laura

    October 26th, 2010 1:15 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Very disturbing. I would like to see a experiment with a cupcake made the "real food" way. Just to compare.

    October 26th, 2010 12:55 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    Hi Sarah!
    Excellent post. If this stuff doesn't make one think twice about commercially produced "food" I don't know what would!!!
    This stuff is nasty. I can't help but think about the extra effort the body must put forth in order to digest plastic. And if digested, then what residues are left behind for the body to continue to deal with. Horrible to think that my very picky-eater of a son only liked McDonald's when he was 3 and 4. Thank God he now eats the healthy meals I prepare for him and all of us.
    WOW! Too gross.

    October 26th, 2010 12:43 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    The reason schools do this is because the store treats don't grow any mold or bacteria because they are chemical concoctions! Where's the logic in it's better to feed kids chemically synthesized treats that REAL treats because they are somehow "safer"?

    October 26th, 2010 12:15 pm Reply
    • Jennifer

      I like your site, but I think we all know the reason why homemade goods can’t be brought to school. I think your explanation is a little out there. It’s really because of the lack of cleanliness in some people’s homes and the need to prevent food poisoning in kids. I wouldn’t want my kids eating things that other people made. I don’t know if they’re clean or if their cat was sitting on the counter next to their mixer. Food allergies also are a problem when you don’t know all of the ingredients in things. As a foster parent I’ve seem some houses that were so full of garbage and bugs that I can’t even imagine going into them, much less eating something they baked.

      January 23rd, 2011 10:40 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        I think we are basically saying the same thing. Last year when the swine flu was going around, my kids’ school suspended all homemade foods (not just baked goods) from being brought to school for this reason. EVERYTHING for parties and such had to be bought at the store and be pre-packaged so as not to spread the flu.

        January 23rd, 2011 12:50 pm Reply
        • Eileen

          If society would just eat whole foods and support our immune systems then we wouldn’t have to worry about so many communicable diseases. We live in such a germ phobia society because of the junk we eat. Since our family changed our diets in the last 2 years my kids and I have not been sick once! While the rest of the world deals with their flus, colds, strep, ear infections, sinus infections, etc.

          July 2nd, 2011 1:33 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    The real frustration comes when you'd like to bake something yummy and maybe gluten and milk free for your child to take to school on their birthday and the teacher says you can only bring store bought treats. Seems like wherever you look today, there is a need for drastic change.

    October 26th, 2010 11:57 am Reply
  • Misty Pearson

    I wonder what they taste like!! :b

    October 26th, 2010 3:35 am Reply

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