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Momentum builds behind certified-sustainable beef

Loblaw becomes first Canadian retailer to purchase certified-sustainable beef, while other supply chain players sign on or increase commitments.

The CRSB’s Certified Sustainable Beef Framework sets out the standards for sustainable beef production that must be met by both producers and processors to become certified.

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is starting the new year with a wave of recent support from across the supply chain. 

Loblaw Companies Ltdbecame the first Canadian retailer to purchase beef from CRSB-certified operations in December. Loblawa founding member of the CRSB, purchased a million pounds of beef from certified sustainable operations. The beef sourced from CRSB-certified operations will be incorporated into Loblaw’s overall beef purchases, a release notes.  

“CRSB is excited to see a large grocery retailer like Loblaw, committed to working collaboratively with the beef industry, show their support for the sustainable practices in beef production and sharing that story with Canadian consumers,” said Anne Wasko in a news release. Wasko is chair of the CRSB and a rancher from Eastend, Sask.   

“Now more than ever, people are keen to know more about how their food is raised, and as a rancher myself, we appreciate the dedication of our partners in sharing the positive impact of Canadian beef as part of a sustainable food system.” 

Certified sustainable options expand in Ontario 

Meanwhile, Ontario feedlots can now seek sustainability certification through the Ontario Corn Fed Beef Quality Assurance program. CRSB’s oversight body, NSF International, assessed and approved Ontario Corn Fed Beef as a certification body for beef feedlot operations in Ontario.   

“With over 500 feedlots in Ontario already certified under the Ontario Corn Fed Beef Quality Assurance program and strong retail and foodservice partners who have been very clear in their desire to source beef from certified sustainable farms in Ontario, we have a strong base to start with,” said Jim Clark in a release. Clark is executive director of Ontario Cattle Feeders Association and the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program. 

Cargill’s Guelph, Ontario plant recently completed its audit for the CRSB’s chain of custody requirements. The Guelph facility was CRSBcertified earlier in 2020, but with the chain of custody audit complete, the plant is now ready to source beef from certified sustainable beef operations. With both its High River and Guelph plants part of the program, the company can supply certified sustainable beef to its customers on a national basis. The company is also awarding financial credits for cattle that qualify for the program at both plants 

Distributor incorporates certified sustainable beef  

One of Cargill’s customers is Gordon Food Service Canada Ltd., a North American food distributor that has been in business since 1897. Gordon Food Service counts restaurants, hospitals, hotels, longterm care facilities and others among its clients. In late November, the company announced that at least 30 per cent of the beef used in its Gordon Choice Boxed Beef program was from certified sustainable operations.  

“Our customers and consumers continue to ask questions around how sustainable our Canadian cattle industry is, and want to know they are purchasing products raised with sustainability in mind. By aligning our brand with the CRSB, we can now proudly talk to the benefits that prioritize our planet, people, animals and progress,” said Darren Frey, national merchandising manager at Gordon Food Service Canada, in a release.  

For more information on the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, visit 

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