Brazil/UK: JBS supplied beef to UK retailers from Brazilian farm being investigated for forced labour; comments from Waitrose, NHS, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Princes

Author: Anna Sophie Gross, Ana Aranha, Piero Locatelli & André Campos, The Guardian (UK) and Repórter Brasil (Brazil), Published on: 8 June 2017

"Waitrose pulls its corned beef off shelves after Guardian reveals alleged slavery links-Documents show JBS, which supplies beef to retailers including Waitrose, previously bought cattle from Brazilian farm now being investigated for labour abuse", 6 June 2017

Waitrose is taking its own-brand corned beef from Brazil off supermarket shelves after an investigation by the Guardian...and Repórter Brasil show[e]... that JBS, one of the world's largest meat processing companies, previously purchased cattle from a farm under federal investigation for using workers as modern-day slaves. JBS says it ceased buying from the farm on discovering the alleged link to labour abuses...Its produce is used in tinned corned beef sold by major retailers including Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op, Sainsbury's, Lidl and Princes. JBS also supplies indirectly to the NHS, through Marillo Foods...NHS supplied...corned beef from Marillo...In... June 2016,...police officers discovered men forced to live in inhumane and degrading conditions, with no shelter and no toilets or drinking water...[W]orkers were in debt bondage, with payments for food and protective equipment illegally deducted from their wages. The farm owner, Antônio José Junqueira Vilela Filho, had previously been fined...for deforesti[on]..."JBS does not buy cattle from...farms which have...association with slave labour, as listed by the Brazilian government...'black list' of slave labour..."...Lidl and the Co-op also said they were conducting internal supply chain investigations. M&S said it stopped buying corned beef from Brazil...Sainsbury's and Princes said their business was conducted in line with ethical and global standards. A spokesman said...: "NHS Supply Chain..[:]...we immediately contacted our supplier to discuss these serious allegations and we are conducting an inquiry into this matter."...[G]rowing concern over bills put before congress...that aim to redefine what constitutes modern slavery under Brazilian law...

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Related companies: JBS Lidl Marks & Spencer Sainsbury's Waitrose (part of John Lewis Partnership)