- A new investigation by Earthsight, a London-based environmental group, and De Olho nos Ruralist, which monitors agribusiness in Brazil, has linked supermarket chains, fast food outlets and pet food brands in Europe to a 9,700-hectare farm, Brasília do Sul, that has become synonymous with Indigenous rights abuses in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state.
- Brasília do Sul was the home to a group of Guarani Kaiowá Indigenous until they were forcibly evicted in the 1950s to pave the way for agricultural development.
- According to the report, fast food giant KFC, and UK supermarkets Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi and Iceland, as well as pet food sold in Germany by Lidl, Aldi, Netto, Edeka and other major retailers, rely on chicken fed with soy produced by Brasília do Sul.
- MEP Delara Burkhardt, shadow rapporteur for the Socialist and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, says the findings of the report show why the EU needs rules against imported deforestation and called for free, prior and informed consent to use and convert land to be made an integral part of the forthcoming EU deforestation framework.
Soy field adjacent to Amazon transition forest in Mato Grosso state, Brazil Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.
In the 1950s a group of Guarani Kaiowá Indigenous living in the community of Takuara in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul was forcefully evicted from the land they had called home for centuries to pave the way for agricultural development.
Today, Takuara is known as Brasília do Sul, a 5,700-hectare farm that has become synonymous with Indigenous rights abuses in Brazil.
According to new research published on Wednesday, Brasília do Sul is now a major producer of soy that is sold to large cooperatives and traders, including Lar Cooperativa Agroindustrial, one of Brazil’s largest poultry producers.
The investigation was carried out by Earthsight, a London-based environmental group, and De Olho nos Ruralist, which monitors agribusiness in Brazil.
UK-based Westbridge Foods has been identified as one of the major buyers of frozen and marinated chicken from Lar and is a supplier of poultry products to KFC, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi and Iceland, among others.
Between 2018 and 2021 Westbridge reportedly imported over 37,000 tonnes of frozen and marinated chicken from Lar – about a third of the chicken the Brazilian firm sent to the EU and UK over the period.
In response to questions posed by investigators regarding the findings of the report, both Aldi and Asda denied that the chicken supplied to Westbridge has any links to Brasília do Sul, while Sainsbury’s stated that the chicken supplied to them does not come from Lar. Sainsbury’s and Aldi said they would investigate the matter with Westbridge, adding that they were committed to respecting human rights throughout their supply chains and sourcing sustainable soy.
But companies in the UK aren’t the only ones that were linked to Brasília do Sul. Records obtained by Earthsight and De Olho nos Ruralist show that Lar’s only major European customer for chicken products for pet food is Hamburg-based Paulsen Food, which bought about 14,000 tonnes of them between 2017 and 2021. Paulsen Food is a supplier of poultry products to Saturn Petcare and Animonda Petcare, which supply pet food to some of Germany’s largest retailers.
Mongabay reached out to Westbridge and Paulsen for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.