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McDonald’s To Serve Certified Sustainable Beef in Canada

sustainable beef
(Photo Credit: MPD01605, Flickr Creative Commons)

McDonald’s Canada plans to serve Canadian beef from certified sustainable farms and ranches, sourcing more than 20 million Angus burgers from them over the next 12 months. The company will purchase Angus beef certified according to standards set by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB).

The CRSB sustainable beef production and processing standards include more than 60 indicators across five principles for beef sustainability and are upheld by-on-site certification audits, according to McDonald’s Canada.

Citing examples of indicators a farmer or rancher must achieve, the company says that grasslands and grazing must be managed in a way that maintains or improves soil health and protects watershed areas. In addition, feed, water, animal care, shelter, and herd health and handling procedure outcomes must meet the requirements outlined for beef cattle by the National Farm Animal Care Council.

The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework was developed by the multi-stakeholder membership organization the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) as a tool to certify farms, ranches, and processing facilities against sustainability standards.

Five principles for beef production specified by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef are:

  1. Natural Resources: The beef value chain manages natural resources responsibly and enhances ecosystem health
  2. People and the Community: Sustainable beef stakeholders protect and respect human rights, and recognize the critical roles that all participants within the beef value chain play in their community regarding culture, heritage, employment, land rights, and health
  3. Animal Health and Welfare: Sustainable beef producers and processors respect and manage animals to ensure their health and welfare
  4. Food: Sustainable beef stakeholders ensure the safety and quality of beef products and utilize information-sharing systems that promote beef sustainability
  5. Efficiency and Innovation: Sustainable beef stakeholders encourage innovation, optimize production, reduce waste, and add to economic viability.

McDonald’s Canada says the company sources all of the beef for its hamburger patties from Canadian ranches and farms, mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Sustainability claims will be awarded based on a minimum of 30% of the supply chain’s beef originating from CRSB-certified farms and ranches, according to the McDonald’s Canada.

Processors like McDonald’s supplier Cargill are members of the CRSB. “By applying this framework to our Canadian beef supply chain, we look forward to becoming the first major Canadian processor to provide farm-to-fork traceability of beef from certified sustainable sources,” said Pete Richter, Cargill global foodservice group leader.

In the United States, McDonald’s is a founding member of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef that launched in 2015.

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