Sainsbury’s and five other European supermarkets have announced they will no longer sell beef products originating from Brazil over concerning links to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The Big 4 grocer made the decision after new research into “cattle laundering” involving JBS, Brazil’s largest meat business.
A report by Repórter Brasil, in collaboration with campaign group Mighty Earth, alleges that the company indirectly sourced cattle from illegally deforested areas.
The research also tracked beef products linked to deforestation – including beef jerky, corned beef and fresh meat – from Brazil to European supermarket shelves.
A series of investigations by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism ~(BIJ) and The Guardian have also exposed deforestation linked to the Brazilian beef trade in recent years, including reporting that first highlighted cattle laundering in July 2020.
The BJI explains that the laundering occurs “when animals raised on an illegally deforested plot of land are moved to a farm clear of deforestation to be fattened before slaughter. The process means the true origin of the cattle is often hidden, and critics say the problem is widespread in Brazil.”
“The link between cattle farming and the destruction of ecosystems like the Amazon, the Cerrado, and the Pantanal is a complex issue, which we take extremely seriously.” A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said.
“We have taken a range of steps together with our suppliers and the wider industry to try to address this, but not enough progress has been made.
“We are therefore committed to move our own brand corned beef sourcing away from Brazil.”
The supermarket said this would ensure its corned beef could be “verified deforestation-free”.