There’s been quick reaction to a decision by restaurant chain Earls to stop using Canadian beef.
The Vancouver-based chain says it wants to use certified humane beef, raised without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones, and humanely slaughtered.
That means Earls is going to the U.S. for their beef because they couldn’t find a supplier with that certification that could keep up to their supply needs.
But Rob McNabb from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says that doesn’t mean our standards aren’t just as high.
“We’re disappointed that the industry wasn’t consulted or asked ‘what are you doing about some of these things’. In fact we’re developing and on the verge of implementing programs that would meet the same requirements. These programs are looking at specific production practices, or the avoidance of specific production practices. On a food safety level, on the science of analyzing what is in the product, I don’t think these programs can differentiate themselves.”
Hoven Farms has operated near Eckville, Alberta for more than a century.
Tim Hoven says his farm has been certified organic since 1997 and likely already treats its cattle in the way Earls is looking for. He agrees with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association that producers in Canada should have been given a chance to get “certified humane”.
“If Earls talked to producers on the ground here in Alberta, they would be able to find enough meat that meets their standard for humane animal production.”
There was a quick backlash on social media yesterday with calls for boycotts of the restaurant.
Hoven says he’s not surprised.
“When any chain says they’re going to look outside the province, I think that hurts a lot of people’s feelings perhaps. But ultimately Earls is trying to differentiate their product from all the other chains and they think “certified humane” is the way to do it. I think its just going to be a future trend and I hope Alberta producers can step up to the plate and produce what the consumer wants.”
Cate Simpson with Earls tells Global news the beef lobby in Alberta thinks it Canadian beef versus American.
“It’s not. For us it’s all about certified humane beef, it’s all about antibiotic free and steroid free and we know that’s important to our guests.”
Earl’s uses more than two million pounds of beef every year and has 59 locations in Canada and seven in the U-S.
Reaction to the decision has been coming in fast on Twitter. Here is a sample..
This is really big.
Earls is the first chain in North America to source all its beef from Certified Humane® farms ow.ly/4n8DZ0
Matthew Lofgren @MatthewLofgren
@earlsrestaurant No more Canadian meat = no more eating at Earls! #buycanadian #buylocal #supportourindustry
Kevin Johnson @kjohnsob
@earlsrestaurant embarrassing #boycottearls
Dave Wright @WrightIdea_
@earlsrestaurant Same deal as A&W? I’m not exactly rushing out to buy theirs. And now no #Alberta beef? No more Earls
@earlsrestaurant well I’ll put you on my list of places to not only not visit anymore but also advocate against. Big mistake.
@earlsrestaurant Apparently believing in food myths is more important than sourcing locally or even with Canada. Pathetic.
@earlsrestaurant Thank you for sharing this on Twitter. Be sure to include TV commercials and include that you’re buying from out of country
Brian Tingley @Brian_Tingley
@earlsrestaurant Not Alberta beef? No Alberta beef, no Earl’s. #BoycottEarls
Monkey Junk @MrJames1975
@earlsrestaurant Just another reason NOT TO EAT AT EARLS.
Jack Gibson @JackGibson
TEN YEARS @heresdylan
@earlsrestaurant US beef? Are you kidding me? So long to one of your most loyal customers. #BoycottEarls #SupportAlbertaBeef
@earlsrestaurant America beef in Alberta no thanks won’t be eating at earls anymore
Scott Wenger @cowgaryblue
@earlsrestaurant how about work with Canadian producers instead of going for the quick fix photo op and ditching Canadian jobs?
@earlsrestaurant Sorry to hear this my wife and I meet with our friends at earls a couple times a month. Won’t be going to earls anymore !!!
@earlsrestaurant If you want to advertise your restaurant to those who believe in this food propaganda then be prepared to lose customers
PostNational Canuck @MarkOkanagan
@earlsrestaurant count me out – I like my beef grown in #AB or #BC the old fashioned way…I’ll eat elsewhere..
Hunter Ridge Farm @HunterRidgeFarm
@earlsrestaurant Kansas raised beef, eh? Thanks for supporting Canadian Beef…er…
Dan Fraser @FraserFraserdw
@earlsrestaurant go back to the USA then. #worstPRcampaigns