Madisons chain going Certified Humane for beef

A Quebec steakhouse chain aims to carve out a new space in the restaurant market by being Quebec’s first dining chain to source beef from the Certified Humane program.

Madisons NY Grill and Bar, a brand of Montreal restaurant and fast-food firm MTY Group, announced Thursday it has signed a deal with Canadian meat supply firm Viandes Intercite to provide its outlets with Certified Humane product starting July 1.

Viandes Intercite, an arm of Gordon Food Service, is the only current Canadian distributor for Kansas beef production and packing firm Creekstone Farms, the best-known Certified Humane supplier.

Madisons, which today has 14 outlets in Quebec and one in Ottawa, said it will get “Premium Black Angus” beef from Creekstone in the U.S., ranging from ground beef to filet mignon, aged at least 35 days.

The product supplied by Viandes Intercite will be cut to Madisons’ own specifications, Gilles Pépin, MTY’s senior vice-president for Madisons, said via email.

Madisons has sought in recent months to distinguish its meat offerings, introducing pork ribs “free of added hormones and steroids” in October 2014, followed by ground beef sourced from cattle raised “without added hormones and antibiotics” starting last July.

Starting July 1 this year, Pepin said in the company’s release, all the chain’s beef cuts will come from beef raised “free of added hormones, steroids and antibiotics.”

Madisons on Thursday further pledged to eliminate antibiotics in “all meat and poultry” in its menu by the end of December 2017.

Specifically, Pepin said via email, that requirement will call for meat sourced from livestock never treated “at all” with antibiotics.

The Certified Humane program is managed by Virginia-based Humane Farm Animal Care, a not-for-profit organization operating in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Peru, offering certification regimes for beef cattle, broilers, laying hens, dairy cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, turkeys and bison.

Creekstone Farms, owned by Florida investment firm Sun Capital Partners, bills its beef as coming from cattle “handled compassionately and humanely” from birth through processing, through its Kansas plant designed by U.S. livestock handling expert Temple Grandin.

A move in late April by Canadian dining chain Earls Restaurants to source Certified Humane beef from Creekstone ran up against an immediate backlash from consumers and ranchers.

Within days the Vancouver-based firm backed away from its decision and pledged to “work with local ranchers to build our supply of Alberta beef that meets our criteria” for animal care and treatment. — AGCanada.com Network

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