An American Company has been accused of biopiracy by the Federal Public Prosecutor, regarding an alleged illegal access to the genetic material to the Brazilian fruit açaí. Such access would have made possible to this company to commercialize this fruit in USA.
It is important to point out that the açaí is a fruit originally of the Brazilian rain forest (Amazonia), being know for its nutritional and even medical properties. The açaí has been used for generations of native people in the Brazilian Amazonia. However, in the last decades, its commerce and use has been expanded to other Brazilian regions as well as other countries.
Nevertheless, considering the Biodiversity Convention, as well as Brazilian laws to protection of biodiversity, such fruits as açaí are protected and the study, extraction and commerce of them are subject to regulations and authorizations.
The American company would have accessed the açaí genetic heritage without authorization from the National Genetic Heritage Council (Conselho Nacional de Patrimônio Genético – CGen) to trade products derived from the açaí pulp abroad. Also, the company would have not comply to its social obligation with the communities responsible to the açaí production.
However, the company CEO has denied such accusations, affirming that the company is the only one in the world with organic and fair trade certificate, having a social ware chain of production.
The CGen authorization to access to genetic heritage, as well as the cooperation and benefit to the local community are legal impositions. Thus, if prove that the company have not comply with such requirements, it will might be civil and criminal accountable.
Lawyer Author of the Comment: Natália Nogueira dos Santos
Headline: Empresa que vende açaí nos EUA é acusada de biopirataria e de não beneficiar ribeirinhos
“If you want to learn more about this topic, contact the author or the managing partner, Dr. Cesar Peduti Filho.”