The restaurant chain imported beef to compensate for supply chain issues
By Diego Flammini
McDonald’s Canada is once again preparing to source all its beef from Canadian farms starting next month.
John Betts, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada and its 1,400 Canadian locations, made the announcement during the Canadian Beef Industry Conference last week.
“As of September, we are going back to 100 per cent Canadian beef,” he said during the online conference last Thursday. “The best beef in the world, absolutely, and that’s thanks to your resilience. You know it’s not lost on us how hard you’ve been hit, but you’ve remained incredible and reliable partners to us.”
McDonald’s Canada has used 100 per cent Canadian beef since 2003.
In April, the restaurant franchise announced changes to its beef sourcing because of the food supply chain disruptions brought on by COVID-19.
These challenges included limited processing capacity and a temporary shutdown of the Cargill processing facility in High River, Alta.
That plant alone accounts for about 40 per cent of national beef production.
During the supply chain disruptions, beef producers from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland helped McDonald’s maintain its beef supply.
The restaurant chain also removed Angus burgers from Canadian menus.
Despite the window of increased beef imports, Canadian farms continued to supply a majority of product for McDonald’s.
“Helping us maintain more than 80 per cent Canadian beef through an unprecedented global crisis – that’s a true testament to (farmers) and the industry as a whole,” Betts said.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is pleased with the news.
Sourcing beef from Canadian farms is important for agriculture and for consumers, said Bob Lowe, president of the CCA.
"We understand (McDonald's) need to temporarily supplement Canadian beef with supply from international markets in April 2020 while our processing capacity was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," he told Farms.com in a statement. "We were excited to learn at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference that McDonald's Canada will return to sourcing 100 per cent Canadian beef in September 2020.
"We are also pleased that the Quarter Pounder burgers will now carry the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef logo, with a minimum of 30 per cent certified sustainable beef being used.”