According to a company memo obtained by CNN, a cyber attack on produce giant Dole shut down manufacturing facilities.
“Dole Food Company was in the midst of a cyber attack and subsequently shut down our systems across North America,” Emmanuel Lazopoulos, senior vice president of Dole’s fresh vegetables division, said in a February 10 memo to retailers, according to CNN.
The hack, which is being reported as ransomware, led to a shortage of Dole salad kits.
Some customers noticed that Dole salad kits were out of stock in stores on Tuesday.
Dole said it owns the threat and has “engaged leading third-party cybersecurity experts” to secure its systems.
A cyberattack earlier this month forced giant Dole to temporarily shut down manufacturing plants in North America and stop shipping food to grocery stores, according to a company memo about the incident obtained by CNN.
The previously unreported hack — which a source familiar with the incident said was ransomware — led some grocers to complain on Facebook that salad kits made by Dole were missing from store shelves in recent days.
Dole has four processing plants in the US and employs more than 3,000 people, according to a recent company press release.
After CNN published the story Wednesday afternoon, Dole spokesman William Goldfield sent a statement to CNN confirming that ransomware was the cause of the incident.
“The company has notified law enforcement authorities of the incident and is cooperating with their investigation,” Dole’s statement said in part. “While the scope of the incident continues to be investigated, the impact on Dole operations is limited.”
Adam Wolff, the store’s manager, told CNN that a cyberattack on Dole’s led to the salad shortage, citing a Dole memo he said his store received from its wholesale grocery supplier, Affiliated Foods Inc., in Texas.
Russell, the produce manager, rummaged through the salad kits in his store on Tuesday, the most recent full day of inventory, from Dole Chopped Sesame to Dole Butter Bliss.
“They are [customers] Upset, but it happens,” Russell told CNN. “We can’t do anything about it [put in the orders].”
Mary Underwood, an employee at Stewart’s Food Store in Olney, Texas, about 100 miles west of Dallas, told CNN on Wednesday that the store had struggled to get dole salads for several days. Customers started asking questions about the bare shelves, Underwood said, prompting the store to post a Dole memo about the cyberattack on its Facebook page.