CANADA - The Canadian restaurant chain Earls Restaurants has caused controversy by switching to US beef suppliers as part of its new policy on humane sourcing.
The chain said they were unable to source the large volumes of beef they needed under a 'Certified Humane' label in Canada, and will now be sourcing beef from Kansas.
The chain also wanted the beef to be raised without hormones, steroids or antibiotics.
In a statement, Alberta Beef Producers said it is disappointed in Earl’s decision to stop purchasing Alberta/Canadian beef and move to a US-based certification programme.
"It is unfortunate a Canadian company would not consult with the Canadian beef industry prior to making this choice – resulting in the incorrect implication that our beef is not humanely raised," the organisation said.
"The Canadian beef industry has robust animal protection regulations, a recently revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, and a long history of producers committed to caring for their animals.
"The regulations, codes, and verification processes we have developed are primarily intended to demonstrate and record the responsible production practices that have been in place for years.
The statement continued: "We welcome diversity in marketing and respect the right of customers to sell beef that consumers want, but with the multitude of certification programs available the Canadian beef industry sees the need for a national sustainability framework. We encourage our retail and foodservice customers to work with us to provide the beef that their consumers want to purchase."
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