Maple Leaf Foods' operations interrupted by cybersecurity incident

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Update, as of Nov. 9:

Maple Leaf Foods says it is implementing workarounds to maintain operations at its plants while a team of cybersecurity experts continues to work on resolving the “comprehensive” outage caused by a cyberattack.

CEO Michael McCain told investors in a quarterly earnings call on Nov. 8 that all the company’s plants ran on Monday, although not at normal volumes.

The outage is “continuing to create some operational and service disruptions that vary by business unit, plant and site,” a company spokesperson says in a Nov. 9 email update to RealAgriculture.

Canada’s largest prepared meats company — a major producer and processor of pork and chicken — says it has experienced a “system outage” due to a cybersecurity incident.

Maple Leaf Foods issued a statement late Sunday, Nov. 6 saying it was working with cybersecurity and recovery experts, as well as information systems professionals and third-party specialists to investigate an outage and resolve the situation.

The company did not say which parts of its business were all affected, but that it anticipates resolving the problem “will take time and result in some operational and service disruptions.”

Maple Leaf added that it will “work with all its customers and suppliers to minimize these disruptions in order to continue delivering the nutritious food people need.”

JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, suffered a cyberattack last year that disabled beef and pork processing plants in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. JBS paid the hackers an US$11 million ransom in Bitcoin.

Editor’s note: This developing story will be updated as further information becomes available.

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