Burger King has announced it is working on relaxing the impact of beef on the environment. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, which is mentioned in the Burger King press release, livestock is responsible for about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cows release methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Burger King has partnered with scientists to develop and test a new diet for cows, that according to initial study results, will reduce up to 33 percent of cows' daily methane emissions during the last three to four months of their lives.
"This initiative is part of our Restaurant Brands for Good framework. At Burger King®, we believe that delicious, affordable, and convenient meals can also be sustainable," said Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Restaurant Brands International, in the Burger King news release. "We are making all our findings public. This an open-source approach to a real problem. If the whole industry, from farmers, meat suppliers, and other brands join us, we can increase scale and collectively help reduce methane emissions that affect climate change."
The formula for this diet is open source and simple to implement, according to the news release. Preliminary tests have suggested that adding 100 grams of lemongrass leaves to the cows' daily veterinary prescribed diet during their last four months helps them release less methane as they digest food. This formula was developed with Octavio Castelan, Ph.D, Professor at the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico and Ermias Kebreab, Ph.D, Professor at the University of California, Davis.
"The Burger King® brand has taken the right step to initiate mitigation of enteric fermentation methane emissions originating from the beef cattle industry showing the path to follow by other companies in the food sector," said Octavio Castelan, PhD, Professor at the Autonomous University at the State of Mexico, also in the Burger King press release.
Starting on the day of writing, July 14, select Burger King restaurants in the following locations will offer the Reduced Methane Emissions Beef Whopper:

  • Miami, FL – 79th Court
  • New York, NY – 7th Avenue
  • Austin, TX – North Lamar Boulevard
  • Los Angeles, CA – North Bellflower Boulevard
  • Portland, OR – SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
Burger King has also created an educational video explaining the problem as well as the solution, which can be seen here.

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