The beef industry has an ax to work with Google.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association wants the tech giant to curb a planned feature that automatically shows the emission intensity of certain ingredients when users search for recipes. Industry groups argue that such emissions metrics do not fully capture the environmental benefits of beef.

“What they are doing confuses consumers,” Daniel Nielenberg, president of the sustainable agriculture advocacy group Food Tank, said, referring to the association. “They’re a huge lobby group paid by their members to stand for beef, whatever the truth is.”

It’s about a planned search function that compares the “average greenhouse gas pollution” of potential ingredients, based on United Nations emissions data. This is part of Google’s broader sustainability efforts in recent years. These include a new Google Maps feature that highlights the most fuel-efficient routes and an overhaul of the office grocery program to reduce meat consumption.

In a blog post last month, Google Search Director Her Hema Budaraju said the ingredient ejection feature will soon be available to all English-speaking users. She added a search example for panang curry recipes. This search box included an info box that showed beef had the highest shedding per pound of about 10 potential ingredients.

“Small changes can add up to make a big impact,” she said in her post. “The future of our planet, and everyone on it, couldn’t be more valuable.”

Then on Tuesday, the National Cattlemen’s Association denounced Google’s proposed search feature.

“Google is spending billions of dollars to attack cattle producers, ignoring the science behind the sustainability and environmental values ​​of beef,” association president Don Sievebein said in a press release. “Beef production conserves green spaces, recycles pasture and feed, and provides consumers with a lean protein source rich in essential nutrients. Google needs to seriously reconsider this feature.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment on the association’s criticism.

But sustainable agriculture experts applauded the tech giant’s efforts to educate consumers about the emissions associated with food choices.

Jan Datkiewicz, a visiting fellow in the animal law and policy program at Harvard Law School, said, “Putting the environmental impacts of various everyday items to the fore, people Google them. Sounds like a good idea overall to me.

“This is not an anti-beef search function,” he said. “I see no reason why people can’t access quick comparative information about the effects of the foods they use.”

Nirenberg pointed out that systemic changes are needed to significantly reduce emissions in agriculture, but “I always think that having more information is a good thing.” she said.

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Source: eenews

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