Turns out beef isn’t always better from the other side.
Earls announced Wednesday it has backtracked a recent decision to switch from using Canadian beef to Certified Humane from the U.S.
The move sent many into a furor on social media last week, and saw #boycottearls trending for hours.
“We moved to a U.S. supplier as we thought they could supply all of our needs. It was a mistake not to include Canadian beef,” Earls President Mo Jessa, Earls told CKOM News Wednesday.
At the time, Earls defended its decision with a spokesperson telling CKOM their team worked closely with producers in Alberta for three years, but ultimately couldn’t find enough supply to meet their demand.
“We know that Canadian cattle are being raised humanely, that’s not a question in our mind,” corporate communications manager Cate Simpson said on April 29.
However, the chain propped Certified Humane beef up by saying it goes a few steps further – not only are the cows cared for in a respectful manner; they are also raised without antibiotics, steroids and added growth hormones.
“We made a decision to offer our customers beef that has never been treated with antibiotics or growth hormones that meets specific, audited standards for animal care. We stand by that decision,” a statement on the Earls website Wednesday read.
Debate raged last week about how the decision positioned Alberta beef, with many saying it implied ethical standards in the country are not up to board. Jessa clarified it was not Earls’ intention to question the standards in Canada.
“Canadian beef is some of the best beef in the world, and ethical standards are right here at home, but there was just not enough of a single-sourced supply,” he said.
Jessa explained the Canadian chain, which has 67 locations, simply wanted to go with one supplier.
“I’m afraid we took the easy way out,” he said.
The commitment back to Canadian beef isn’t necessarily an all-or-nothing; the chain said it will “source as much beef as possible” from Alberta.
Jessa said he would love to see only Canadian beef in the chain someday, adding it’s a cheaper option to out-sourcing, but said it’s more likely there will always be a mixed supply.
“It’s going to take a lot more effort in Canada; it’s going to take a lot more of a coalition effort to work with industry to get more of a (steady) supply in Earls from Canadian sources,” he said.