US fears food shortages as biggest meat retailer forced into shutdown after cyberattack

US farmer reacts to the rise in animal feed prices

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The United States food industry has been hit hard after JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, was hit by a major cyber-attack believed to have been launched from Russia. The attack forced the company to close all nine of its US beef plants, which amount to almost a quarter of the US’s beef supply. The chaos experienced by the company has created fears of a beef shortage in the US, with uncertainty over how prices will be affected.

 

US beef prices had already been climbing steadily this year due to increased supply costs for farmers. 

Fox News correspondent Lydia Hu said: “They’re expecting these inflated costs to continue through the year.

“Some estimates see that trickling into the grocery stores with prices going up by roughly 5 percent depending on what you’re buying.”

She added: “The issue is that feeding them is getting more and more expensive, as we’re just seeing the price of corn and soy skyrocket over the last year.”

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John van Vugt of Rockridge Farm in Andover, New Jersey told Fox News that the rising costs were already putting pressure on his business.

“We’re used to seeing slight increases here and there, going up and back down again.

“But over the last several months, fuel fertiliser prices have really skyrocketed and it’s going to show in the beef coming in the next few months.

“It costs $200-$300 more a cow to raise them and you only get 500lb from a cow.

“We’re going to have to raise our prices on the retail side.”

In April, beef prices were already 18.5 percent higher in wholesale and 11.5 percent higher in retail than in 2019.

There are now fears that beef prices could spiral in supermarkets as beef supplied dwindle following the JBS cyber-attack.

JBS’s Australian facilities were also forced to close by the attack.

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The White House has offered support to JBS in the wake of the attack and accused Russian hackers of being responsible.

Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokeswoman for the Biden administration, said on June 1 that JBS had been issued a ransom following the attack from “a criminal organization likely based in Russia.”

She added: “The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter.

“Responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals.”
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