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Earls president apologizes for ‘dumb’ Canadian beef ban

The president of restaurant chain Earls has apologized for the chain's failed plan to stop serving Canadian beef.
The president of restaurant chain Earls has apologized for the chain's failed plan to stop serving Canadian beef. Quinn Campbell

CALGARY – The president of Earls restaurant chain is apologizing to Canadian beef ranchers, taking to the stage at an industry conference in Calgary to disavow the company’s “dumb” strategy last spring to only buy beef raised in the United States.

READ MORE: ‘We made a mistake’: Earls to bring back Canadian beef after public backlash

Mo Jessa says the company now knows that it deeply offended the Canadian cattle industry in April when it announced it would buy all of its beef from an American supplier that had a “Certified Humane” designation. The move prompted outrage and threats of a boycott.

He says the company won’t make the same mistake again, a declaration met with applause from hundreds of beef industry conference delegates gathered in south Calgary.

WATCH: Earls’ decision on beef leads to backlash in Alberta 
Earls’ decision on beef leads to backlash in Alberta
Earls’ decision on beef leads to backlash in Alberta

The restaurant chain reversed its decision and in June signed supplier deals with Canadian ranchers who raise cattle without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones and who are regularly audited for animal welfare.

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READ MORE: Earls restaurant moves to Humane Certified beef – what is it and is it healthier?

Alberta Beef Producers chair Bob Lowe, a fourth-generation cattle rancher and feedlot operator, says he accepts Jessa’s apology.

Lowe says he hopes the issue with Earls will result in more co-operation on beef industry promotion between Canadian producers and the restaurant industry.