eggs - Frequently asked questions

Do you give your cattle antibiotics?

Our ranchers only use antibiotics when medically necessary to ensure the health of the animal, in the same way that most doctors recommend the use of antibiotics for people.

What does your “100% Pure Beef Guarantee” really mean?

Our 100% Pure Beef Guarantee means that all of our beef is raised without any added hormones or steroids and comes from ranchers who are committed to being leaders in sustainable production. We use only 100% beef for our patties and add absolutely nothing else. No additives. No preservatives. Just beef.

What do you feed your cattle?

All of our cattle are fed a fully vegetarian diet. Typically, our cattle enjoy a mix of different grains and grass.

Does your beef supply go through verifications or audits?

We have rigorous verification that tracks all aspects of each animal’s life, from the farm to our restaurants. This ensures adherence to all regulatory guidelines and that all the beef we serve meets our high standards and specifications.

Have you changed the taste of your burgers?

We know that Canadians have loved the A&W Burger Family since 1956. That’s why we’ve never changed a thing about our recipe, other than using beef that’s been raised without any added hormones or steroids.

Which A&W burgers contain this beef?

The whole Burger Family — from Baby to Uncle® to Grandpa® — contains 100% pure beef, raised without any added hormones or steroids.

What should I do if I have more questions?

Think we missed something? We’re happy to answer all your questions about our beef at guarantee@aw.ca.

What is different about your chicken?

We are very proud to be the first and only national fast food restaurant serving chicken raised without the use of antibiotics.

Are your chicken burgers made with real chicken?

Absolutely! All of our chicken strips and burgers use 100% real seasoned white chicken breast.

I thought antibiotics were banned in chickens?

Antibiotics are not banned, but chicken and egg farmers across Canada have voluntarily stopped the preventative use of Category 1 antibiotics. Category 1 antibiotics are those that are the most important for use in human medicine. Other antibiotics are approved for use in the raising of livestock in Canada.

Are your chickens raised using hormones and steroids?

No chicken in Canada is raised with hormones or steroids. The use of hormones and steroids in chicken production has been banned in Canada since the 1960s.

Where do you source your chicken from? Is it Canadian?

Yes, our chicken comes from Canadian chicken farms.

How are your chickens raised? Are they in a cage?

Our chickens are humanely raised in large barns, with room to roam and ample access to fresh air and clean water.

Why are antibiotics typically used for raising chickens?

Antibiotics are typically injected into the egg and added to the feed in low dosages in order to prevent disease within the chickens and to promote health. In Canada, the antibiotics commonly used to help raise chickens have been approved by the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada.

What’s different about these eggs?

Our eggs are from hens fed a vegetarian diet without animal by-products.

What do you feed the hens that produce your eggs?

Their diet is an all-vegetarian mix of grains and seeds such as flax, corn, wheat, barley and soy. It is high in fibre and contains no medications, antibiotics or animal by-products. Their feed has also been enriched with vitamins D, E and B12, as well as folacin.

Do the eggs taste different?

We’re really proud of how great our eggs taste and some people have told us they taste better than other eggs they eat. Our guests have told us that they prefer eggs fed a vegetarian diet with no animal by-products and we're proud to meet that standard.

Are the hens housed in cages?

Yes. Our hens are housed in cages designed to provide a clean environment, fresh food and water and protection from predators. Because our Canadian climate is so variable, most hens are housed within temperature-controlled laying barns. Over 90% of eggs in Canada come from conventional-style cages but we’re happy that the majority of our A&W eggs come from enriched-housing cages, which are significantly bigger and allow for small social groups and freedom to perch and lay their eggs in nesting areas. We have a commitment that all of our hens will live in enriched housing by the end of 2016.

Our laying hens are all raised and cared for by Canadian egg farmers, who meet or exceed all standards and guidelines of the Egg Farmers of Canada’s own Animal Care Program developed by veterinarians, scientists, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and the CFIA.

Why isn't A&W using cage-free eggs?

No national quick service restaurant is serving cage-free eggs now or in the near future. There simply aren’t enough available. We felt it was important to improve quickly, so we worked closely with our farmers to create this transition from traditional to enriched housing cages in less than 2 years. Although these eggs cost us a bit more, we think the investment is worthwhile.

How fresh are they?

Our eggs are delivered to every restaurant at least once a week to ensure they’re as fresh as possible.

Are your egg-laying hens given antibiotics?

In Canada, every chick raised to become an egg-laying hen receives a small amount of antibiotics to give her the best possible start and a healthy life. After that, hens that lays eggs for A&W cannot be fed or given antibiotics.

Of course, if the laying hen becomes sick, we believe she should be treated as needed, which includes the use of antibiotics when necessary. But, by our specification, her eggs would no longer be served in our restaurants.

We know it's important to many Canadians to avoid antibiotics, and we will continue to look for ways to eliminate them entirely.

What should I do if I have more questions?

Think we missed something? We’re happy to answer all of your questions about our eggs at guarantee@aw.ca.

What is in the bacon?

We are very proud of our bacon recipe, and it’s pretty simple: pork, sea salt, cane sugar, cultured celery extract, cherry juice and natural smoke. Plus, A&W bacon comes from pork raised without the use of antibiotics that are fed a high-quality vegetable grain based diet.

What does "nothing artificial" mean, and does the bacon contain nitrates or nitrites?

We do not add artificial preservatives such as artificial nitrates or nitrites to our bacon. We only use naturally occurring preservatives: salt, cultured celery extract and cherry juice. Cultured celery extract contains naturally occurring nitrites.

I thought antibiotics were banned for use with pigs in Canada?

Antibiotics are not banned for use in pigs raised for their meat in Canada. However, our bacon only comes from pork raised without the use of antibiotics.

What happens if one of your pigs gets sick? Are they given antibiotics?

If an animal gets sick, our farmers will work with veterinarians to consider all treatment options to protect animal health and welfare. If antibiotics are required, the animal will be treated but will not supply A&W.

Are your pigs given hormones or steroids?

No, our pigs are not given hormones or steroids. This is the same for all pork in Canada.

Do you use gestation crates?

Animal welfare is a top concern for A&W, and we only work with farmers who treat their pigs compassionately and responsibly. We are committed to phasing out gestation crates, but are not there just yet. We currently use a combination of open housing and gestation crates with more of our farms being converted to crate-free each year.

Where are your pigs raised?

All of our pigs are raised in Canada.

Is all of your pork raised without antibiotics?

We are excited to start serving bacon from pork raised without antibiotics in February 2016. And we are working hard to have all of our pork products, including sausage links and sausage patties, switched to pork raised without the use of antibiotics as quickly as possible (in 2016).