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Meat Producer JBS Hit By Cyberattack, Worthington Plant Closes For The Day

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A cyberattack could have a serious ripple effect, all the way to your wallet.

Cyber criminals forced JBS, one of the world's largest meat processers, to shut down more than a dozen of its locations Tuesday, including the plant in Worthington.

WCCO spoke about the situation with Brian Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

"If they're not processing, they can't then accept animals to come in," Preisler said.

He says he hopes the pause is temporary.

"The sooner they come back up, then the sooner we don't have these, you know, interruptions, things get back to normal," Preisler said.

The longer it goes, the greater the impact could be: to the farmer, the plant, its workers, and the price passed on to consumers.

The food supply chain felt it during the pandemic.

Hogs, Pigs
(credit: CBS)

"Last year was really probably the lowest of lows for hog farmers," Preisler said.

JBS in Worthington had to euthanize 3,000 pigs in a day because of closures. Some farms exited the industry. Preisler says things have turned around, and the hog business become profitable again.

"When you short the supply a little bit, and then you've got demand, that's really good, that's why we've got good hog prices today," Preisler said.

Consumers are paying more for the product. A pound of bacon in April of 2020 cost $5.35. It went up to $6.22 in 2021. There was a more narrow increase for pork chops. April of 2020 shows a pound was $3.67, and it went up 17 cents a pound this year.

And we as head into prime grilling season, Preisler thinks price and availability should stay consistent.

"If it can be ended here, you know, next few days, the impact is really minimal," Preisler said.

The Worthington JBS plant has announced the cancellation of some Wednesday shifts. JBS USA says "resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers."

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