SÃO PAULO – Six European retailers decided to stop selling Brazilian beef, including products that share ties with JBS SA, following a recent deforestation investigation.

According to a report released by Mighty Earth and Reporter Brazil, Ahold Delhaize, Lidl Netherlands, Carrefour Belgium, Auchan France, Sainsbury’s UK and Princes Group committed to various changes in their beef policies. 

The investigation alleges that JBS continues the practice of “cattle laundering.” The term means cattle are raised on land that is deforested illegally in South America before moving onto an approved cattle farm.

JBS sent the following response to MEAT+POULTRY regarding the investigation.

“JBS has no tolerance for deforestation, forced labor, misuse of indigenous lands, conservation units or violations of environmental embargoes,” JBS said in a statement. “In Brazil, the company has maintained, for over 10 years, a geospatial monitoring system that uses satellite imagery to monitor its suppliers in every biome.” 

The company said it has blocked more than 14,000 suppliers who did not comply with its policies. 

“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,” JBS said. “This is because protein companies, such as JBS, have relationships only with their direct suppliers, while transaction information from the other links in the chain is protected by confidentiality.” 

When addressing the Report Brazil allegations, the Brazilian meat processor said the information mentioned only five of 77,000 direct supplier for JBS. 

The company added that,“regarding those 5 cases, after a thorough audit, our sustainability team has found that at the time of purchase, they were in accordance both with JBS’ responsible procurement policy and cattle supplier monitoring policy of the federal prosecution office.”

During its commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its global operations in 2021, the company stated that it plans to eliminate illegal Amazon deforestation from its supply chain – including its suppliers – by 2025 in other Brazilian biomes by 2030. JBS pledged to achieve zero deforestation in its global supply chain by 2035.

Last year, JBS SA said it would use its plans to use blockchain technology in the future for “Together for the Amazon,” a project of sustainability in the Amazon Biome.

“The implementation of this platform, by 2025, is on schedule,” the company said. “By enabling us to extend due diligence to suppliers our suppliers it will ensure JBS’ high standards at all links in our production chain.