Princes under pressure over Amazon

A leading food manufacturer has come under fire over allegations it is sourcing beef from a company allegedly involved in the illegal deforestation of the Amazon.

Princes has admitted sourcing corned beef from JBS – a Brazilian processor which Greenpeace claims is “knowingly” buying cattle from farms engaged in recent and illegal deforestation of the rainforest.

Greenpeace has approached Princes asking them to put pressure on JBS, but the company has not agreed to follow other UK and Brazilian companies in signing a moratorium on beef from the Amazon.

Princes, which makes claims on its cans that its corned beef is not from rainforest areas, insists that it has “re-verified” the traceability of its beef products.

“We have also visited our Brazilian suppliers, as part of our ongoing programme of supplier audits, since the publication of the report,” said a spokesperson. “As part of these audits, traceability checks were conducted and all demonstrated the beef used could be traced through the entire supply chain and that there were no discrepancies against our standards.”

Greenpeace Forests campaigner Sara Shoraka said that Princes has been unable to confirm exactly which farms supply their beef products, however. “Even if they are sure that none of the beef they receive comes from the Amazon region, it is still coming from a company that is involved in illegal deforestation activity,” she added.

JBS is the only Brazilian processor that has stayed silent since the publication of Greenpeace’s report on the Brazilian beef industry’s complicity in the destruction of the Amazon.

Marfrig and Bertin have now signed a total moratorium on the purchase of cattle from suppliers linked to illegal deforestation, a commitment which Shokara said will have a “real impact” on driving down Amazon deforestation.

“JBS-Friboi must accept its responsibilities and stop fuelling Amazon destruction. It needs to join these companies in protecting the rainforest now,” she said.

Greenpeace has also requested a meeting with the Brazilian embassy, following its statement last week which claimed that no beef is coming into the EU is from Amazon regions.

“What the embassy said is just factually incorrect,” said Shokara. “Processed beef comes into Europe from EU approved processing plants, some of which are supplied by farms and slaughterhouses in the Amazon.”