Burger King made its eco-friendly Whopper by changing cows' diets to cut methane

Coral Murphy

Burger King’s new menu item aims to tackle the environmental impact of beef.

The fast-food chain partnered with top scientists to develop and test a diet for cows to produce less methane, a greenhouse gas that traps the sun’s heat and warms the planet.

The new diet reduces up to 33% per day, on average, of cows’ daily methane emissions during the last three to four months of their lives, according to initial study results.

The Whopper sandwich with reduced methane emissions beef is available at select restaurants in Miami, New York, Austin, Texas, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, while supplies last.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock is responsible for approximately 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cows release methane as a byproduct of their digestion.

Preliminary tests suggest 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 their food, according to Burger King.

“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,” said Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer at Restaurant Brands International.

Consumers can find details about the initiative’s findings on bk.com/sustainability.