Six European supermarket chains, including UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, Carrefour in Belgium and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, will stop selling beef products from Brazil.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that an investigation published in early December by environmental campaign group Mighty Earth and Repórter Brasil documented how a range of Brazilian beef products linked to meatpacking giant JBS have been sourced from farms that are thought to contribute to deforestation has resulted in the decision.

The products included corned beef sold in Sainsbury’s and beef jerky sold in Carrefour and Delhaize in Belgium, as well as Lidl in the Netherlands.


In response to the investigation, Sainsbury’s, Britain’s second-largest retailer, has confirmed it will pull all Brazilian corned beef from its shelves.

Albert Heijn, the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, has also pointed to stopping sourcing beef from Brazil across its stores.

Other supermarket chains, including Carrefour and Delhaize in Belgium, have announced they will withdraw Jack Links beef jerky from their shelves with immediate effect.

Jack Links is one of the largest global brands for beef jerky and has a joint venture with JBS in Brazil to export products to Europe and the US.

Cattle laundering

The research by Repórter Brasil and Mighty Earth found evidence of JBS being engaged in “cattle laundering”, a practice where beef is sourced from cattle raised and fed on farms derived from officially sanctioned deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

It was reported in the Financial Times that a Sainsbury’s spokesperson stressed the supermarket took the link between cattle farming and the destruction of ecosystems “extremely seriously”.

“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,” they said.

Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter and accounts for over 20% of global beef exports, but there have been concerns in recent times around the rate of deforestation taking place in Brazil.

Earlier this week the Irish Farmers Journal reported that China had lifted its ban on Brazilian beef imports after an over 100-day ban due to a BSE case in Brazil.

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