The company, which has its North American operations headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, controls about 20% of the slaughtering capacity for U.S. cattle and hogs, according to industry estimates.
U.S. beef and pork prices are already rising as China increases imports, animal feed costs rise and slaughterhouses face a dearth of workers.
The cyberattack on JBS could push U.S. beef prices even higher by tightening supplies, said Brad Lyle, chief financial officer for consultancy Partners for Production Agriculture.
Any impact on consumers would depend on how long production is down, said Matthew Wiegand, a risk management consultant and commodity broker at FuturesOne in Nebraska.
"If it lingers for multiple days, you see some food service shortages," Wiegand added.
Two kill and fabrication shifts were canceled at JBS's beef plant in Greeley due to the cyberattack, representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 said in an email. JBS Beef in Cactus, Texas, also said on Facebook it would not run on Tuesday.
JBS Canada said in a Facebook post that shifts had been canceled at its plant in Brooks, Alberta, on Monday and one shift so far had been canceled on Tuesday.
Piracy on the high seas is policed by both nation states and international organisations. A zero tolerance policy is taken to any threat to international trade and significant military and diplomatic resources are deployed to contain any threat that appears. Doing the same for cyber pirates is a lot more difficult.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top