Top UK Supermarkets And Restaurants Linked To Mass Deforestation In Brazil

by : Julia Banim on :
Top UK Supermarkets and Restaurants Linked To Mass Deforestation In BrazilPixabay/PA Images

A number of top UK supermarkets and restaurants have been linked to mass deforestation in Brazil.

Tesco, Lidl, Asda, McDonald’s and Nando’s reportedly all sell chicken that has been fed on soya from the Brazilian Cerrado tropical biome region, a carbon sink known to be globally important in the fight against climate change.


This chicken has been connected to thousands of forest fires as well as to at least 300 sq miles (800 sq km) of tree clearance in the Cerrado, with many shoppers having no idea whatsoever about the nature or extent of the destruction.


These findings have been published following a collaborative investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Greenpeace Unearthed, ITV News, and The Guardian.

As reported by The Guardian, broadcaster and campaigner Chris Packham has stated that the revelations demonstrate that consumers need more information about where their food is being sourced from.


Packham said:

Most people would be incredulous when they think they’re buying a piece of chicken in Tesco’s which has been fed on a crop responsible for one of the largest wholesale tropical forest destructions in recent times.

We’ve got to wake up to the fact that what we buy in UK supermarkets, the implications of that purchase can be far and wide and enormously damaging, and this is a prime example of that.

Cargill PA

As reported by The Guardian, at least one billion chickens are killed in the UK every single year, with many having been fattened up on soya beans imported by a company called Cargill.


Cargill reportedly purchases soya from farmers in the Cerrado, a vast wildlife habitat that spans an area the size of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.

Shipping data analysis reveals that Cargill imported 1.5m tonnes of Brazilian soya to the UK in the six years dating back from August 2020.

Biome-level export figures, which have been collated by supply-chain watchdog Trase, show that almost half of Cargill’s Brazilian exports to the UK originate from the Cerrado.


Drone footage filmed by ITV News last month showed an area of the Cerrado, owned by a business thst supplies Cargill, on fire.


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This investigation has tracked soya from farms on the same land to Cargill’s chicken operation in the UK, following a soy shipment of sourced from the deforested region to the port of Cotegipe. The shipment then joined a consignment bound for Cargill’s Liverpool-based soya terminal.

The shipment was then traced to animal feed mills in Herefordshire and Oxfordshire, which are owned by Cargill.

Here, the soya was combined with other grains such as wheat to create chicken feed before being supplied to farms that rear chicken for Avara, Cargill’s UK chicken enterprise.


One branch of this chain was then tracked from Avara’s Herefordshire-based chicken farms into the Cargill-owned abattoir near Hereford.

This abattoir supplies chicken to various household name retailers and high street restaurants, including Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Nando’s and McDonald’s, drawing a clear connection between UK-bought chicken and deforestation.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Brazil, Chicken, deforestation, Food, McDonalds


The Guardian and 1 other
  1. The Guardian

    Revealed: UK supermarket and fast food chicken linked to deforestation in Brazil

  2. ITV News

    How Britain's chicken addiction is driving deforestation in Brazil