EDMONTON — A little more than one week after the Earls restaurant chain announced it was cutting ties with its Canadian beef suppliers, the Vancouver-based company backed away from the controversial decision on Wednesday.
“We made a mistake when we moved away from Canadian beef,” Earls President Mo Jessa said in a news release. “We want to make this right. We want Canadian beef back on our menus so we are going to work with local ranchers to build our supply of Alberta beef that meets our criteria.”
Earls said it “is committed to sourcing as much beef as possible from Alberta and will work to build more of the supply they need” but did not provide numbers in terms of what percentage of of beef it purchases will now come from Alberta again.
Late last month, the chain announced plans to source its beef from the U.S. because of its new humane meat policy. While some applauded the move, the decision was mostly met with opposition, particularly in western Canada where even politicians like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta’s opposition Wildrose leader Brian Jean blasted the chain over the announcement.
“We have deep roots in Alberta,” Jessa said in the release. “We started in Edmonton and we have many operations and employees here. Alberta has supported us. We need to support Alberta, especially in tough times.”
Earls said it growing commitment to “conscious sourcing” prompted the company to look for a Canadian producer who could supply it with Certified Humane beef. However, the company said it was unable to find a suitable producer that could meet its needs and decided to choose a supplier in Kansas.
Certified Humane is a certification and labelling program administered by American-based Humane Farm Animal Care. It is not connected to Health Canada or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.