Alabama businesses react to JBS cyber attack and increase in meat prices

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As one of the largest meat suppliers in the U.S. begins to bounce back after being shut down by a cyber attack, meat producers are seeing an increase in prices.

The general manager at Mr. P’s Butcher and Deli Shop tells CBS 42 that he has noticed meat prices have been on the rise these past few weeks. But it’s been an ongoing trend since the start of the pandemic.

JBS is one of the four giant companies that controls more than 80% of U.S. beef processing. With the cyber shut down, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that meat prices will rise up to 3% this summer.

“We’re trying to keep prices as stable as we can, I mean our markup is our mark up so it’s just what the prices come into us, so we’ve been trying to hold off as long as we can but gradually as prices continue to rise, it will rise simultaneously throughout the market,” said Chris Pilleteri, Mr. P’s Butcher Shop and Deli.

Pilleteri, the general manager of Mr. P’s says he’s doing his best to keep his store shelves stocked during these uncertain times.

“I have been shorted a few items here or there. When we place an order, sometimes it’s chicken or a certain type of steak, but as of right now, I wouldn’t say there’s a shortage. Is it possible? Absolutely. Certainly, at the beginning of COVID, we couldn’t get in ribeye’s time to time,” said Pilleteri.

While some businesses are dealing with the ripple effect of the cyber-attack, there are others in the meat industry that have no concerns.

“We raise red meat and poultry. We process red meat and poultry right here in this facility. We make all the products that you can buy in the grocery store in meat but here we do it all ourselves,” said Matthew Lawrence, with Marble Creek Farmstead.

Lawrence is the co-owner of Marble Creek Farmstead. He operates a small farm that is able to provide a resilient food system.

“Last year during the pandemic, when everyone was out of meat, we were full in stock with meat. We were able to get people food. So many people that would have gone without were able to have it because we existed and there are not many plants like this around. Small farms are really struggling, I encourage people to support small farmers,” said Lawrence.

Pilleteri says he doesn’t believe meat prices will drop back down to pre-COVID levels, but they will level out and get to a new normal through the summer months.

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