JBS attack unlikely to cause major meat disruption: USDA


By Sylvan Lane, The Hill



The Agriculture Department (USDA) said Thursday that the ransomware attack on meat conglomerate JBS SA is unlikely to cause major disruptions but exposed the risks created by food industry consolidation.


In a Thursday statement, the USDA said beef and pork production have begun to rebound after a weekend attack forced the country’s second-largest meat producer to shut down its plants.


JBS USA is responsible for 25 percent of beef and 20 percent of pork and poultry sold in the U.S. The company said Tuesday it expected to regain full production capacity by the end of Thursday.


“Our daily market data shows a strong rebound in cattle and hog slaughter, which we expect to continue through the week, while poultry numbers are higher this week than last. All in all, the market is moving toward normalization and, if the situation continues to resolve quickly, we don’t expect this incident to have lasting effects on wholesale and retail prices,” the USDA said.


The USDA added that the Biden administration has pushed other meat producers to help fill the void left by the JBS attack and “take any necessary measures to alleviate price increases or shortages.”


The brief shutdown of JBS plants is expected to drive rising prices for meat slightly higher. Industry experts say the JBS attack will have a limited, largely short-term impact...