News & Politics

Where's the Beef? U.S. Points the Finger at Russia as Giant Meat Supplier Suffers Cyber Attack

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, has been hit with a major cyber attack.

The attack has reportedly crippled the meat giant, which controls about 20% of the U.S. beef and pork slaughtering capacity.

As a result of the attack, large US and Canadian meat plants canceled shifts Tuesday, threatening to disrupt meat supply and further inflate food prices.

The White House has contacted major meat processors across the US to notify them of the incident and assess “any impact on supply,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said aboard Air Force One. She added that the FBI is investigating the hacking.

“The president has directed the administration to determine what we can do to mitigate any impacts as they may become necessary,” she said.

The Biden administration says it has contacted Russia, claiming the attack likely originated there, according to Reuters.

“The White House has offered assistance to JBS and our team at the Department of Agriculture have spoken to their leadership several times in the last day,” Jean-Pierre said.

“JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Jean-Pierre added.

The Brazil-owned JBS has a massive footprint, supplying meats to Costco and majority-owning Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing and its organic sub-brand. It also operates globally.

It’s interesting that two of the left’s major bugaboos, big oil and now big meat, have come under cyber attack in the past few weeks, and those attacks disrupt supply chains and cause price spikes. We can probably expect some beef, pork, and chicken shortages unless the attack is dealt with quickly. The JBS attack has already cut U.S. slaughtering capacity by about 22%, according to Reuters.

This is the second major cyber attack of the year. On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline was hit with a cyber attack and was taken offline, disrupting energy supplies across the southeastern and eastern U.S.