McDonald's Canada has announced plans to be the first Canadian company to acquire beef that is "certified sustainable'' according to standards outlined by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).
Company spokesperson Adam Grachnik told farmnewsNOW the announcement represents a nearly three-year journey for the company.
"Really it's about a partnership with Canadian cattle ranchers and standing up for the high quality of Canadian beef we have," he said.
Over the next 12 months, more than 20 million of the company's angus burgers will be sourced according to CRSB standards, which include ensuring animals have adequate feed and endure minimal stress and pain. Farmers and ranchers must also manage grasslands and grazing in a way that protects soil health and watersheds.
"We see this as a very responsible thing to do, creating change and encouraging responsible beef production for years to come. We know it certainly benefits McDonald's but we also see it as benefitting the entire supply chain," Grachnik said.
Grachnik said in the coming months their customers will see a new logo on packages indicating the beef comes from certified sustainable ranches.
The announcement has received a warm reception from both the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) and the Saskatchewan Cattleman's Association (SCA).
SSGA General Manager Chad MacPherson said the announcement represents great news for cattle producers in Saskatchewan.
"It's an excellent opportunity for the beef industry to promote our social license that we are doing things right, and actually for most producers they don't have to change very much on their operations," he said.
Ryder Lee is Chief Executive Officer of the SCA and has for the past few years been watching the "certified" program unfold with more and more local producers taking the steps to be a part of it.
"Right now there's a pilot going on and people are getting dividends. It was $10 a head last quarter and it's $20 a head this quarter so you're part of the marketing chain and hopefully it will build from there," he said.
Lee said anytime a retailer or restaurant makes a commitment to Canadian beef, producers like to hear that and it lets producers know they are doing a good job.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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