The hack of JBS Foods, one of the largest meat producers in the world, could send meat prices higher in the near future.
Meat prices were already rising in recent months. The price of beef and veal was down slightly in April, but was up 3.3% from April 2020, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The price of pork, meanwhile, shot up 2.6% in April, and was up 4.8% from April 2020. Poultry prices were also up about 1% in April.
The coronavirus pandemic hit the food industry hard, shutting down about 60% of beef, pork and poultry plants at the peak of its impact in April 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Beef prices jumped 10.8% from April 2020 to May 2020, at least partly due to the plant closures and ensuing supply drop.
JBS said Tuesday that the time it takes to resolve the hack "may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers."
"The company took immediate action, suspending all affected systems, notifying authorities and activating the company's global network of IT professionals and third-party experts to resolve the situation," JBS Foods said in a statement. "The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an Incident Response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible."
All of JBS's beef plants in the U.S. have been shut down as a result of the hack, temporarily halting about 20% of beef production in the United States, a representative from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union told FOX Business.
The White House said Tuesday that the FBI is investigating the hack and the USDA is in touch with other major meat producers to ensure that they are aware of the hack.
"We’re assessing any impacts on supply, and the president has directed the administration to determine what we can do to mitigate any impacts as they may become necessary," White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday.
The ransomware attack, which the White Hous said was likely carried out by a Russia-based criminal organization, came just three weeks after Colonial Pipeline was hacked, causing gas shortages in parts of the eastern United States.
FOX Business Thomas Barrabi and the Associated Press contributed to this report.