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'World's Oldest Twinkie' Intact After 40 Years (Photo)

| by Reve Fisher

The unofficial "World’s Oldest Twinkie" has remained a staple at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine, for four decades.

In 1976, then-chemistry teacher Roger Bennatti decided to conduct a spur-of-the-moment science experiment to see how long it would take for a Hostess Twinkie to decompose, Bangor Daily News reports. Forty years later, the world still has not determined the answer to that question.

"I thought it would be moldy because I am pretty sure Twinkies are, like, moist-ish," student Tatiana Heggestad told Bangor Daily News.

Nowadays, the infamous Twinkie has been placed in a glass case in the office of Libby Rosemeier, dean of students at the academy. Aside from the inevitable coating of dust and a few fallen crumbs, it does not look much different than a fresh Twinkie.

"Kids have said ‘Can I take a bite?'" Rosemeier said. "The most remarkable thing to me is that this is a piece of food that is 40 years old and the shape is basically unchanged. Preservatives work, I guess, to some extent. I think it is dusty more than anything."

Rosemeier was a student in Bennatti’s class in 1976 when the experiment started.

"We were studying the chemistry of food," she recalled. "We went next door to the [Merrill & Hinckley] store, bought Twinkies and we gave them to Mr. Bennatti and [asked him], ‘How many chemicals do you think are in something like this?’ He said, ‘Let’s find out and see how long it lasts.’ He opened the Twinkie package, ate one, and put the other one on top of the [chalkboard]."

Bennatti, who currently works as assistant director of Fort Knox State Historic Site, said he hopes the Twinkie will be placed in a more prominent place at the school.

"I consider it an ongoing science experiment," Bennatti joked. "It’s important [for students] to realize that some scientific experiments don’t take 45 minutes."

However, Rosemeier commented that the Twinkie has been a useful ice-breaker when students come into her office.

"It gets kids in my office just to talk," she said in a 2012 interview with Bangor Daily News. "They come to see the Twinkie, and then all of a sudden I have a dialogue going. It’s great."

Although Twinkies are highly processed, the snack cakes are not "any more [processed] than thousands of other food products out there," according to NPR. The only "proper" preservative in the Twinkie recipe is sorbic acid.

Sources: Bangor Daily News (2), NPR / Photo Credit: E Online, Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons

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