I am writing in response to Michelle Stirling-Anosh’s June 3 column, headlined Why is our beef coming from out of the country?
Stirling-Anosh seems to be under the impression that a large number of cattle are imported into Canada, processed and sold as domestic beef. This is untrue as virtually all cattle processed in Canada are born and raised in Canada.
Historically, very few cattle are imported and Canada is actually a net exporter of cattle and beef products.
To be clear, no off-shore live cattle have ever been imported into Canada for processing.
In 2007, approximately 5,000 head of cattle were imported from the United States for feeding and processing.
To put this number into perspective, Canada’s packers process approximately three million to three and a half million head of cattle each year.
A small number of purebred cattle may be imported from the United States or offshore countries for breeding purposes.
It is important to note that Alberta is Canada’s leader in beef production with 40 per cent of Canada’s beef cattle breeding herd, 70 per cent of Canada’s feedlot production, and 70 per cent of this country’s beef processing taking place in Alberta.
Overall, about 80 per cent of the beef consumed in Canada is from cattle born, raised and processed in Canada.
Consumers who want to ensure they are buying Canadian beef should look or ask for beef products that carry a Canadian beef grade. The highest Canadian quality grades are: Canada Prime; AAA; AA and A. Only beef processed in Canada can carry a Canadian grade designation.
Alberta Beef Producers