The Brazil-based group’s operations in North America and Australia have been affected by what JBS has called “an organised cybersecurity attack”.

The meatpacker’s business in Australia has seen its operations shut down, while production has been hit at sites across the US.

“JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organisation likely based in Russia,” a spokesperson for the White House was quoted as saying by Reuters and CNN today (1 June). “The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbour ransomware criminals.”

Just Food has contacted JBS and the US Department of Agriculture for comment.

Yesterday evening local time, a JBS site in Texas posted on Facebook it “will not operate tomorrow”.

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This morning local time, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 told Just Food two shifts at JBS’ plant in Greeley in Colorado had been cancelled today “due to the cyber attack”.

In a statement issued yesterday, JBS’ US arm said it had “determined that it was the target of an organised cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems”.

JBS USA said it had taken “ 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”.

It insisted its “back-up servers were not affected” and added: “The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation. Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers.”

JBS describes itself as “the largest protein producer in the world”. The company processes beef, pork, lamb and chicken, as well as having a presence in the growing meat-alternative market.

As well as in North America and Australia, JBS has operations across multiple countries in Latin America and in Europe.

In 2020, JBS generated net revenue of BRL270.2bn (US$52.44bn), up 32.1% on a year earlier. Higher tax expenses contributed to a 24.2% drop in net income to BRL4.6bn.