Several supermarket chains have pulled Brazilian beef products from shelves after the country's meat-processing giants were found to be linked to the destruction of the world's largest tropical rainforest.
Several European supermarket chains are dropping Brazilian beef products linked to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and tropical wetland, the US activist group Mighty Earth has said.
Mighty Earth's announcement on Thursday comes after its investigation in partnership with Reporter Brasil, a Brazilian non-government organisation founded by journalists, highlighted links between Sao Paulo manufacturing plants of Brazilian meat-processing giants JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva and deforestation.
Chains such as 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.
Activists have long criticised 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.
Mighty Earth said other chains including Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Lidl, Sainsbury's and Princes in Britain were taking similar initiatives.
Murky indirect suppliers
Brazil's top beef exporters defended their environmental records.
JBS, the world's biggest meat company, said it had "no tolerance" for illegal deforestation and had "proactively blocked" more than 14,000 suppliers to date.
However, it acknowledged that "the challenge for JBS, and for the beef cattle supply chain in general, is to guarantee this same control over the suppliers of its suppliers."
It says it is implementing a platform using blockchain technology to eliminate deforestation from its indirect supply chain by 2025.
Brazil has struggled to deal with "cattle laundering," in which ranches that are blacklisted for deforestation illegally sell their animals to "clean" ranches that then sell them to meat-processing companies.
Record Amazon deforestation
The Amazon is the world's largest tropical rainforest.
Deforestation, after falling for several years, has risen since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro came to power in 2019.
Brazil's National Institute for Space Research said last month deforestation had hit a 15-year high this year.
The vast majority of the cleared land is used for cattle ranching.