Bagged Lettuce Shortage In Illinois? Here’s Why It’s Happening
Ever since the pandemic, here in Illinois and across the country, we've been dealing with assorted supply chain shortages of things like diesel fuel, baby formula, Sriracha, avocados, cream cheese, feminine hygiene products, lumber....well, I could go on, but I don't want to because it's depressing.
Now, add the second-fastest selling item in grocery stores across the country to the list:
Bagged lettuce and salads.
Pre-Packaged Lettuce and Salad Is The 2nd Fastest Selling Grocery Store Item Behind Bottled Water, Accounting For Nearly $4 Billion Per Year
And right now, Illinois residents and the rest of the nation are experiencing a shortage of these wildly popular products not because of standard supply chain issues, but because of a cyber-attack.
What's being called an internal memo at Dole says that a recent cyber-attack has forced Dole to shut down production at its North American facilities and call a halt to sending shipments out to grocers across the country.
"Dole Food Company is in the midst of a Cyber Attack and have subsequently shut down our systems throughout North America," Emanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president at Dole's Fresh Vegetables division, wrote in a Feb. 10 memo to retailers.
Dole spokesperson William Goldfield confirmed in a Feb. 22 statement on the company's website that it had recently been hit with ransomware.
At This Point, It's Not Clear How Long Dole Had To Shut Down Production, Or How Long It Will Take To Resupply Salad And Lettuce Products To Stores
Dole did confirm the cyber-attack was a "ransomware" attack, which, according to the FBI means:
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents you from accessing your computer files, systems, or networks and demands you pay a ransom for their return. Ransomware attacks can cause costly disruptions to operations and the loss of critical information and data.
It still remains unknown whether Dole paid a ransom to the cyber-attackers, how long it will take to get back to normal operations and distribution, or whether there was further damage done to Dole's overall operations.