May 17, 2022

JBS USA is the American branch of Brazil-based JBS SA, the world’s largest meat producer. After discovering an “organized cybersecurity attack” that impacted its computer systems in North America and Australia, the company shut down nine of its beef plants. The White House said a criminal group responsible for the ransomware attack is likely backed by Russia.

JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira confirmed on Tuesday that he expects that most of the meat-processing facilities will be operational within Wednesday, following a cyberattack that forced the world’s largest meat producer to halt the operations of all of its U.S. beef plants.

“We have cybersecurity plans in place to address these types of issues, and we are successfully executing those plans,” Nogueira said in a statement. “Given the progress our I.T. professionals and plant teams have made in the last 24 hours, the vast majority of our beef, pork, poultry, and prepared foods plants will be operational tomorrow.”

JBS added that on Tuesday, it was able to dispatch products from nearly all of its facilities to supply customers despite the interruption to its operations. The company’s pork plants remained open.

The company received significant support from the governments of the US, Canada, and Australia as part of collective efforts to protect and maintain the food supply chain. JBS supplies about one-quarter of beef in these regions.

“I want to personally thank the White House, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Australian and Canadian governments for their assistance over the last two days,” Nogueira added.

JBS’s U.S. operations interruption raised the alarm about a possible meat shortage in the coming days. The White House, Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security, and JBS USA are working closely to “mitigate any potential supply or price issues.”

“As part of that effort, USDA has reached out to several major meat processors in the United States to ensure they are aware of the situation, encouraging them to accommodate additional capacity where possible and to stress the importance of keeping supply moving,” the USDA said. “USDA has also been in contact with several food, agriculture, and retail organizations to underscore the importance of maintaining close communication and working together to ensure a stable, plentiful food supply.”