Reaction swift to Earls dropping Alberta beef

An announcement on Tuesday that Vancouver-based Earls Restaurants is moving to Certified Humane beef — meaning the chain would be moving away from Canadian beef — provoked a fast and furious backlash.

The company said it tried to use Alberta beef, but there was not enough of a certain type of the meat to meet the restaurant chain's new criteria.

"We did intensive research and testing for over two years trying to use a Certified Humane beef from Alberta, raised without antibiotics, steroids or growth hormones, of which there are some great suppliers in Canada — and we did use it in our Edmonton and Calgary locations as well as our flagship locations across Canada for well over two years," the chain said in a statement.

"However, there was (and is) simply not enough Certified Humane, antibiotic-, steroid-free beef in Alberta to meet the volume we use, and those we tried were unable to consistently meet our supply needs, not even a portion of it."

Earls will instead go with a U.S. supplier.

That didn't sit well with some in Alberta.

"Disappointed to see @earlsrestaurant move away from Alberta beef. Alberta farmers work hard to produce the best beef in the world," tweeted Wildrose Leader Brian Jean.

Former federal Conservative cabinet minister Monte Solberg jumped in on Twitter, as well.

"Earls is caving to hysteria on humane treatment and hormones. I'll take my business elsewhere. #SupportAlberta," he tweeted.

The restaurant's tweet announcing the change has dozens of replies and most aren't favourable, with many threatening a boycott of the Canadian chain.

Earls says it's open to using Canadian beef if it can find a supplier that can keep up with the volume it needs.

Earls, founded in 1982, has about 7,000 employees at 65 locations in Canada and the United States.

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