Ontario’s corn-fed beef program scooped international recognition in June.
The program won the Superior Taste Award from the International Taste & Quality Institute, in Brussels, Belgium. Much like the Michelin rating system for restaurants, this food industry honour is a quality benchmark taken seriously around the globe.
It’s good news for Ontario beef farmers in the program, said Ontario Cattle Feeders Association director of brand management and business development John Baker.
Beef from the program won three-stars, the top award the institute can give a food product. The sample that scored the award was taken out of general production, rather than from a specific farm, said Baker, to ensure that the rating would apply to the program generally.
Baker told Farmers Forum that the award “validates what the program was supposed to do.” He added that it also validated the program for a European market.
Here in North America we may be used to beef being fed corn, but in Europe, high quality beef is almost always grass fed. “They’re seeing something in this product to give it the highest rating.”
The program was launched in 2001. It’s the largest producer-owned branded beef program in Canada, and a 2014 report credited it with raising the price of Ontario cattle by $26 a head.