Google’s new sustainability search feature, which will soon be available worldwide to English language users, has the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) up in arms. When searching for certain recipes like “bean recipes” or “broccoli chicken,” consumers can see how one choice compares with others by using ingredient-level emissions information from the United Nations. However, NCBA said it provides inaccurate climate information on cattle production, creating a bias in consumers against beef.
“Google is using its billions of dollars of resources to target cattle producers and ignore the science that demonstrates beef’s sustainability and value to the environment,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota cattle producer. “Cattle producers have a demonstrated record of continuous improvement, which has led to the United States recording the lowest global greenhouse gas emissions from beef while contributing to food security for the world. Additionally, cattle production protects green space, upcycles grass and forages, and provides consumers with a lean protein source packed with essential nutrients. Google should seriously reconsider this feature.”
NCBA said livestock play an important role in protecting open spaces and account for only a very small portion of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the organization said eliminating all livestock in the U.S. and removing beef from the diet would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.36% globally. As such, NCBA is urging Google to consider the science of beef production before making the new feature widely available.