Earlier this month we looked at the bizarre story of a McDonald’s hamburger and order of french fries that were purchased in Iceland. Despite being left sitting out in the open for more than a decade, the unhappy meal looked almost identical to how it appeared on the day it was purchased, never going through the expected process of decomposition. That story was pretty strange, but now there’s another one that might even top it.

A teacher in Maine bought a Hostess Twinkie as part of a science experiment for his students. He wanted to have a discussion about artificial preservatives and decided to take the snack cake out of its wrapper and leave it out on display to see how it would age over time. Unsurprisingly, the Twinkie held up extremely well. But here’s the catch. He started the experiment in 1976 and it’s still going. (CBS Boston)

A science experiment on a Twinkie in Maine has lasted 43 years and counting. A teacher at the George Stevens Academy bought the snack cake in 1976 as part of a discussion about food preservatives, and it’s sat undisturbed at the school ever since.

The Twinkie is generally the same size and shape, but has turned from gold to gray and its texture has gotten a bit rough.

Here’s a screen capture of the test Twinkie next to a new one as shown on CBS News channel WBZ4 in Boston.

So that Twinkie has been sitting out in the open air for 43 years. Statistically speaking, that means the cake is probably older than half of the people reading this article. The color no longer looks very appealing and it’s developed a bit of a crust over time, but it’s still clearly identifiable as the same snack many of us have been eating all along.

So are Twinkies really infinite? Could they last forever and remain a viable food source? Believe it or not, a number of people in the science community have tackled the urban legend which claims that the product is made entirely of artificial chemicals and it can’t go bad. That includes this analysis from Penn State.

As it turns out, the legend has been mostly debunked. The product is created with several “real” food ingredients, including sugar, flour, eggs and canola oil. But they also dump in a bunch of “chemical stabilizers, artificial flavorings, and numerous preservatives.” Makes your mouth water just thinking about it.

Hostess told CBS news that the shelf life of a modern Twinkie is 65 days. Odds are that it’s much, much longer than that but they don’t want to be sued by anyone who gets sick eating an old Twinkie. (It’s also a good way to keep the product moving off the shelves and having new orders placed.) So the odds are that the Twinkie sitting in the Maine classroom, while still maintaining the appearance of a mostly normal cake, has probably long since gone toxic or at least dry as a bone and stale.

Don’t tell that to Woody Harrelson, though. His character in Zombieland was willing to fight a massive army of the undead just to get to the last stash of Twinkies on Earth in the belief that they would last forever.