McDonald’s Canada to offer certified sustainable beef on menu

McDonald’s Canada plans to be the first food company to offer certified sustainable beef on its menus this fall.

Using animal care and environmental standards set by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the company said more than 20 million Angus beef burgers will be sourced from certified Canadian producers.

The goal is to source more eligible beef for the program, said Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, chair of the sustainable beef group.

Producers can start by joining the national verified beef program. More certification bodies should be approved soon.

“We are just in the process of certifying other programs so those that are not on those particular programs will have product available,” she said.

While McDonald’s was the first out of the gate, other companies are welcome to sell certified-sustainable beef.

“We don’t want to be restrictive in how they can use this brand. If they want to get it down to a niche market and on a product logo, they are going to have that ability,” she said.

“We don’t want to hinder any opportunities for the market to do anything while maintaining the integrity of what that sustainability claim is.”

McDonald’s will use the sustainable beef organization’s logo, which represents production and processing standards based on more than 60 indicators covering animal care, nutrition, environment and social responsibility. Participating producers must meet the standards and undergo on-farm certification audits, said a news release from the Canadian roundtable.

McDonald’s introduced a pilot program to test the concept several years ago. Working with the roundtable, a framework was released last year of what is expected and now the concept is moving toward the final stages of being able to market the claims.

The roundtable’s annual meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19-20 in Calgary, where the final stage of the program is expected to be discussed.

The roundtable for sustainable beef has broad representation from academia, government, food and agricultural businesses, producer associations, processors, retail and food service businesses, as well as organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund U.S., Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada.

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