Editor’s note: Listen to Earls’ corporate chef Phil Gallagher discuss plans for sourcing Alberta beef here.
Earls restaurant chain has changed its mind, announcing it will bring back Canadian beef into its restaurants, although the details on how much and how it will work are unclear.
Last week, the company, which opened its first restaurant in Edmonton in 1982, said it was switching to beef labeled as “Certified Humane” from a supplier in Kansas, saying it was unable to source enough beef with the label in Canada. The move drew widespread criticism from the ranching community, politicians and others on social media, even becoming the lead story on national newscasts, as many felt it unfairly implied that beef produced in Canada was not raised humanely.
On Wednesday morning (May 4th), the company issued a statement saying it’s “committed to sourcing as much beef as possible from Alberta” and will work with producers to build a supply of beef that meets their criteria.
“We made a mistake. We should have worked with local ranchers to find product that met our criteria,” said Earls president Mo Jessa. “I assure you that we’re going to do everything in our power to find local ranchers, work with them and get Canadian beef back into Earls and do it quickly.”
“There’s is no question in my mind that Alberta beef and Canadian beef is some of the best beef in the world. If there’s one good thing that has come out of this, it’s that local ranchers are reaching out to us and they’re going to try to help us meet criteria that we need to get that beef onto Earls’ menu. I’m very optimistic that will happen,” he says in a short video.
The restaurant chain hasn’t said whether it will require Canadian producers to enroll in the Certified Humane program.