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Earls ups ante on beef sourcing

Canadian chain taps U.S. packer to supply Certified Humane Beef

U.S. animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin speaks with Earls meat buyer Dave Bursey at the company's Vancouver Test Kitchen. (

Vancouver-based Earls Restaurants, owner of the upscale-casual dining chain Earls Kitchen + Bar, has gone all in on Certified Humane Beef — but has also gone outside Canada to get it.

The company, which operates 59 Earls restaurants in Canada and seven in the U.S., on Tuesday billed itself as the first North American chain to commit to 100 per cent sourcing from operations following the Certified Humane Beef program in both the U.S. and Canada, starting Wednesday.

The beef comes from cattle raised from birth without the use of antibiotics or steroids and with no added hormones, the company said.

However, the company said on its website, while it has always previously used Canadian beef for its steaks and burgers in Canada, its move to “Conscious Sourcing” dictated that in the case of beef, “Certified Humane was more important to us than origin, so we chose a U.S. supplier for our beef.”

The Certified Humane program is managed by Virginia-based Humane Farm Animal Care, a not-for-profit organization operating in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Peru, offering certification regimes for beef cattle, broilers, laying hens, dairy cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, turkeys and bison.

The company’s chosen Certified Humane supplier for beef is Kansas-based processor Creekstone Farms. Earls’ protein buyer, Dave Bursey, said in a video on the chain’s website that it tested product from 16 different companies throughout North America and in “steak cutting after steak cutting, the Creekstone product has won out.”

Earls said its decision stems from its recent development of a new restaurant concept for Calgary, which company president Mo Jessa said was designed as a “single, unique location, not part of the chain.”

Management, he said in a release, asked themselves if the new concept could be “100 per cent consciously sourced; Certified Humane; antibiotic-free, steroid-free, local, even organic.”

Then, however, they “fully realized the positive impact we could make within our industry by not only having one restaurant follow these principles, but by having our entire company follow these principles.”

The company began sourcing the certified beef for its Earls Test Kitchen in Vancouver and sent its chefs to visit ranches following the program and meet with U.S. animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin, who designed the Creekstone plant’s handling facilities.

Earls then began sourcing the beef last year for its nine “flagship” sites, followed by all its U.S. sites.

The company noted it has also committed to “free-run” and humanely raised chicken; cage-free eggs; and seafood sources approved by Oceanwise and the Marine Stewardship Association.

Earls said it has also committed to its Quebec organic maple syrup supplier and its organic vegetable suppliers in Ontario and British Columbia “to grow the way they want, from a single farm, knowing Earls would take 100 per cent of their crop.” — Network

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