European market chains pull products linked to Brazil deforestation

Several European supermarket chains are dropping Brazilian beef products linked to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and tropical wetland, the U.S. activist group Mighty Earth said Thursday, AFP reports.

Chains like Carrefour Belgium have committed to pulling from their shelves corned beef, beef jerky and fresh prime cuts suspected to come from cattle raised in the Amazon and the Pantanal tropical wetlands.

The move came after a Mighty Earth investigation in partnership with Reporter Brasil, the Brazilian non-government organization founded by journalists, highlighted links between Sao Paulo manufacturing plants of Brazilian meat processing giants JBS, Marfrig and Minerva and deforestation.

Activists have long criticized the environmental footprint of the global meat industry, blaming it for some two-thirds of global biodiversity loss.

It has also accused meat processing firms of not delivering on promises to end deforestation in their supply chains.

Carrefour withdrew Jack Link's brand beef jerky, a pledge also made by Belgian supermarket Delhaize, and Auchan of France similarly said it would be removing beef jerky products linked to JBS.

"We look at the origin of the products that we would have in other countries – if we find any – to make similar decisions if the case arises," Carrefour's director of corporate social responsibility Agathe Grossmith told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Mighty Earth said other chains including Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Lidl and Sainsbury's and Princes in Britain were taking similar initiatives.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's, which sources the bulk of its beef products from Britain and Ireland, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) the company was taking measures to ensure sourcing of its corned beef products outside Brazil.

An Albert Heijn spokesperson told AFP that "we have now taken the decision to eliminate progressively Brazilian beef and are seeking out alternatives from other countries of origin."

The measures come as the European Union brings in new legislation designed to fight deforestation and Mighty Earth director Nico Muzi said in a statement he saw the "noose tightening" around the necks of those involved in deforestation.

The Amazon is the globe's largest tropical rainforest and deforestation, after falling for several years, has risen since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro came to power in 2019.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research indicated last month deforestation had hit a 15-year high this year.

The majority of the cleared land is deployed for cattle ranching.


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