LOGAN, UT (CBS/KUTV) -- Fast food is meant to be consumed quickly and conveniently, which is why a St. George, Utah man's perfectly-preserved 14 year-old hamburger gets a lot of attention.
"It freaks people out," said David Whipple. "They absolutely can't believe it looks that good."
Whipple bought the hamburger at a fast-food restaurant in Logan, Utah on July 7, 1999 as a prop in his work as a salesman of dietary supplements. "I thought there'd be some mold," said Whipple, who wanted to use the hamburger as an example of how enzymes work. "I thought the meat would deteriorate."
But Whipple's food experiment didn't turn out the way he'd thought because the hamburger wouldn't spoil. "It looked as good a month out as it did the day I bought it," Whipple said. "The receipt and the wrapper look like they are going to decompose faster than the hamburger."
The hamburger, wrapped in its original paper, sack and receipt, ended up in Whipple's coat pocket. The coat made the move with the family from Logan to St. George and sat in a closet for years.
Whipple's wife stumbled upon the hamburger sack while cleaning out the closet. She put the sack on the shelf with the intent of asking him about it later, which never happened.
About five years later one of the couple's children found the sack and opened it. The family was amazed by what they saw.
"No fungus, no mold, no smell," Whipple said of the hamburger. "The bun hasn't done anything except get hard. It's hard as a rock."
Besides the pickle, which disintegrated, the rest of the hamburger still appears edible nearly 14 years after it was purchased.
Once, the family tried to auction the hamburger on eBay, Whipple said, "It went up to something like $2,000."
But the family declined to sell. They declined again when a radio station on the East Coast heard about the burger and offered $5,000.
"They wanted to buy it, have a disc jockey microwave it and then eat it at some kind of promotion they were going to do," Whipple recalls.
Whipple keeps the hamburger in a tin shaped like a hamburger, which is appropriate, says Dixie State University Executive Chef Paulo Blaser.
"It's good thing you keep it in a little sarcophagus because you've got the King Tut of hamburgers here," Chef Blaser said. "This is a mummified hamburger."
"It dried so fast that there was no way that the bacteria or mold could grow into it and make it nasty," Blaser explained.
Whipple says he's not getting rid of his perfectly-mummified burger anytime soon.
"It's become a part of the family," Whipple said. "Maybe I'll take it on vacations and travel around the world showing it off to everybody."