Folks, get ready to start eating bugs for your protein.
Because our nation’s meat supply is under threat following a ransomware attack on JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat distribution company.
The cyber attack shut down the company’s five biggest beef plants in the United States.
Those plants process 22,500 cattle per day across the country.
But the attack doesn’t just affect the beef supply, the supply chain for pork also gets disrupted.
To put this to scale, roughly a quarter of the beef supply and a fifth of the pork supply in the United States has halted.
And this comes on the heels of Memorial Day weekend, where Americans across the country had barbecues and cookouts with family and friends.
However, it’s not just the United States that feels the brunt of this cyber attack.
Meat processing operations in Australia & Canada are also under siege.
If grocery stores, butchers, and restaurants can’t restock their meat, then the global meat supply chain is in for a mess.
And this cyber attack also comes on the heels of the targeted operation against the Colonial Pipeline.
We’ve already witnessed the gas shortages in recent weeks.
Here’s the latest:
A ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat company is disrupting production around the world. The attack comes just weeks after a gang of hackers shut down operation of the Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline. https://t.co/M9sufdeqxd
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 1, 2021
The Biden administration said that it had been notified of a ransomware attack targeting the meat processing company JBS, and has been in contact with Russia's government about the incident. https://t.co/ARnzXdfROe
— ABC News (@ABC) June 1, 2021
🇺🇸🥩⚠️ ICYMI World's largest meat supplier JBS shuts down its 5 largest U.S. beef plants cyberattack
— Prof. Michael Tanchum (@michaeltanchum) June 1, 2021
JBS is the latest prominent ransomware victim – but bizarrely the story is getting little coverage in Brazil https://t.co/d7lyAFm5sK
— Bryan H (@bryanhimself) June 1, 2021
After ransomware attack on JBS Foods, WH says USDA, DHS + others working w/ producers to make sure that products move efficiently and that there is no price manipulation. Interagency team monitoring/coordinating. Biden was briefed on attack on Monday.
— Alexander Marquardt (@MarquardtA) June 1, 2021
It’s suspected that this cyber attack originated from Russia, but I have my doubts about more Russia boogeyman reports.
Although I certainly can’t prove it, I caution everyone to raise their suspicions about the official “cyber attack from Russia” narrative.
When mainstream media outlets release articles that disparage meat consumption in the name of ‘climate change,’ it makes me weary that something more nefarious is at play.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
As Brood X cicadas emerge by the billions in coming months, the Chef Bun Lai will host a series of cicada-centric dinners at his Connecticut farm. https://t.co/vBlTn4ow8j
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 31, 2021
— DCist (@DCist) May 29, 2021
Purposely destroying beef and chicken industry to replace that protein with, you guessed it, bugs.
Ah, but that’s just conspiracy theory… https://t.co/ChMYXPTGfz
— 🇨🇦Mark Friesen🇨🇦#PPC Candidate Saskatoon-Grass (@MarkFriesen08) June 1, 2021
Trudeau is trying to make people eat bugs. https://t.co/IciDDCMvd6
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 28, 2021
Let’s not forget the almighty World Economic Forum.
They’re open about wanting us, the serfs, to consume bugs and 3-D meat while they dine on real meat.
— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 21, 2021
— World Economic Forum (@wef) December 27, 2020
Bloomberg reported on the cyber attack:
A cyberattack on JBS SA, the largest meat producer globally, forced the shutdown of some of world’s largest slaughterhouses, and there are signs that closures are spreading.
JBS’s five biggest beef plants in the U.S. — which altogether handle 22,500 cattle a day — halted processing following a weekend attack on the Brazilian company’s computer networks, according to JBS posts on Facebook, labor unions and employees. Those outages wiped out nearly a fifth of America’s production. Slaughter operations across Australia were also down, according to a trade group, and one of Canada’s largest beef plants was idled.
It’s unclear exactly how many plants globally have been affected by the ransomware attack as Sao Paulo-based JBS has yet to release those details. The prospect of more extensive shutdowns worldwide is already upending agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure. Livestock futures slumped while pork prices rose.
JBS suspended its North American and Australian computer systems on Sunday after an organized assault on some of its servers, the company said in a Monday statement. Without commenting on plant operations, JBS said the incident may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.
“Retailers and beef processors are coming from a long weekend and need to catch up with orders,” Steiner Consulting Group said in its Daily Livestock Report. “If they suddenly get a call saying that product may not deliver tomorrow or this week, it will create very significant challenges in keeping plants in operation and the retail case stocked up.”
The impact on meat prices at the grocery store may not be immediately apparent. Retailers don’t always like hiking prices on consumers and may try to resist, according to Michael Nepveux, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“How long it goes on will impact to what level consumers start to see something at the grocery stores,” he said in a phone interview.
The White House offered assistance to JBS after the company notified the Biden administration on Sunday of a cyberattack from a criminal organization likely based in Russia, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday. Biden directed the administration to do whatever they can to mitigate the impact on the meat supply.
“Attacks like this one highlight the vulnerabilities in our nation’s food supply chain security, and they underscore the importance of diversifying the nation’s meat processing capacity,” said U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate’s No. 2 ranking Republican leader.
Any substantial disruption in meat processing would further stoke mounting political concerns about the concentration of the meat industry and complaints of the four giant companies that control more than 80% of U.S. beef processing unfairly leverage their power over farmers and consumers.
JBS is the No. 1 beef producer in the U.S., accounting for 23% of the nation’s maximum capacity compared to rival Tyson Foods Inc.’s 22% share, according to an investor report by Tyson. JBS accounts for about a quarter of U.S. beef capacity and roughly a fifth of pork capacity.
JBS closed beef processing facilities in Utah, Texas, Wisconsin and Nebraska and canceled shifts at plants in Iowa and Colorado on Tuesday, according to union officials and employees. In Canada, an Alberta processing plant was expected to resume operations this afternoon after being idled since Monday, a union spokesman said.
From the AP:
JBS is the second-largest producer of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S. If it were to shut down for even one day, the U.S. would lose almost a quarter of its beef-processing capacity, or the equivalent of 20,000 beef cows, according to Trey Malone, an assistant professor of agriculture at Michigan State University.
In a statement, JBS said the cyberattack affected servers supporting its operations in North America and Australia. The company said it notified authorities and engaged third-party experts to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Backup servers weren’t affected.
Malone said the disruption could further raise meat prices ahead of summer barbecues. Even before the attack, U.S. meat prices were rising due to coronavirus shutdowns, bad weather and high plant absenteeism. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said it expects beef prices to climb 1% to 2% this year, poultry as much as 1.5% and pork between by from 2% and 3%.
JBS didn’t say which of its 84 U.S. facilities were closed Monday and Tuesday because of the attack. But a union official confirmed that two shifts at the company’s largest U.S. beef plant, in Greeley, Colorado, were canceled Tuesday.
Some plant shifts in Canada were also canceled Monday and Tuesday, according to JBS Facebook posts.
In Australia, thousands of meat plant workers had no work for a second day Tuesday, and a government minister said it might be days before production resumes. JBS is Australia’s largest meat and food processing company, with 47 facilities across the country including slaughterhouses, feedlots and meat processing sites.
JBS has not stated publicly that the attack was ransomware.
Jean-Pierre said 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.” The FBI is investigating the incident, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is offering technical support to JBS.
In addition, USDA has spoken to several major meat processors in the U.S. to alert them to the situation, and the White House is assessing any potential impact on the nation’s meat supply.
JBS has more than 150,000 employees worldwide.
Going back to my eating bugs joke, it’s not really a joke.
My hunch is that this ransomware involves something more sinister than simply distressing the meat supply chain for a few days.
But prepare for more Russia, Russia, Russia boogeyman echoes from the mainstream puppets in the coming days.