Burger King tweaks its cows’ diets to tackle climate change

Burger King has tweaked the diet of some of its cows in a bid to tackle climate change.

The cows will eat 100 grams of lemongrass daily in the hopes of reducing methane emissions by 33% a day.

Burger King introduced its new lemongrass-fed beef Whoppers today at select restaurants in cities across the US – in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Portland.

cow farts & burps are no laughing matter. they release methane, contributing to climate change. that’s why we’re working to change our cows’ diet by adding lemongrass to reduce their emissions by approximately 33%. learn about our ongoing study: https://t.co/kPCXpjfbGL#CowsMenupic.twitter.com/DnmF8gVVL0

— Burger King (@BurgerKing) July 14, 2020

The fast-food chain said the lemongrass formula is “open source and fairly simple to implement” – and is designed to help cows release less methane during the digestion process.

Cows emit methane as a by-product of their digestion and greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector made up 9.9% of total US greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Of that 9.9%, methane emissions from livestock comprised more than a quarter.

Burger King worked with scientists at the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico and at the University of California to test and develop its new lemongrass formula in a bid to limit the company’s role in climate change.

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It comes after a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that around two out of three Americans believe corporations have a responsibility to combat climate change.

Potential customers are also reducing the amount of meat they eat due to health and environmental concerns, prompting Burger King and rival McDonald’s to add meat alternatives to their menus in recent years.

Holstein cows in the pasture with copy space in blue sky
Image:Cows emit methane as a by-product of their digestion

Two years ago, McDonald’s said it was taking steps to cut the greenhouse gases it emits and tweaked how the beef in its Big Macs and Quarter Pounders was produced.

It said it expected the changes to prevent 150 million metric tonnes (165 million tonnes) of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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