PPC HerbByte – Lemongrass = Less Gas?

Posted on December 7, 2020

To all of our avid readers, sometimes we like to include articles that are topical and from other sources. We do not subscribe to the content nor do we support in this case non vegetarian views, the article merely outlines an interesting approach to managing our ecosystem.

In July 2020, Burger King launched the Whopper® hamburger with Reduced Methane Emissions Beef, which is sourced from cattle that are fed lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus, Poaceae). The company claims that supplementing the cattle’s diet with lemongrass has the potential to reduce methane emissions from those animals by up to 33%.1,2

The “reduced-methane” patty debuted at select Burger King locations in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Portland, Oregon. The company, which has more than 18,000 locations in more than 100 countries and US territories,3 also plans to expand the effort to Latin America and Europe.1,2 As part of its campaign, Burger King released a video ad featuring a country jingle and a yodeling, guitar-playing boy who emerges from a cow’s “dairy air” singing, “When cows fart and burp and splatter, well, it ain’t no laughing matter….”4

Burger King’s initiative comes when some consumers are reducing meat consumption for the environment’s sake. Meat-sourcing companies like Burger King are under increased pressure to minimize their impacts on climate change. It is not clear how much Burger King hopes to reduce its environmental footprint or how much the “reduced-methane” Whopper will cost the company. However, customers reportedly will not have to pay more for the burger. This is not Burger King’s first effort to appear environmentally conscious: Under a partnership with Impossible Foods Inc., it also began selling the Impossible Whopper, a plant protein-based burger, in August 2019.2

In the study, four treatments were evaluated: a control diet, 100 g/day of lemongrass “dry matter” plus a control diet, 365 g/day of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla, Asteraceae) dry matter plus a control diet, and 365 g/day of garden cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, Asteraceae) dry matter plus a control diet. Of those, lemongrass had the largest effect on methane yield, with a reduction of 33%, according to the study.

Burger King’s effort will not “solve the climate change problem in the short term, but it is a scalable finding that may allow change in the future,” the company said in a statement. “The majority of conversation around this announcement has been overwhelmingly positive.

Got to admit, it’s interesting and supports the use of other botanical methods to help our eco world but, our interest remains entirely on the use of herbal approaches and not dietary matters.

Lemon grass is a wonderful herbal tea and food ingredient which has a number of properties that accentuate flavours and enhance the overall culinary experience. We are not aware of any studies focusing on gas reduction in humans and recommend that you speak to your healthcare provider on matters of this type.