Japanese Focus On Wagyu Integrity

AUSTRALIA - Japan is gearing up to re-enforce the integrity of Wagyu cattle, according to recent reports from the market.
calendar icon 20 July 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

The Japan Livestock Technology Association has developed a new breed identification method that can determine whether beef is from Kuroge Washu – black hair Wagyu cattle - or not. The test uses the specific genes involved with the marbling of beef, according to the report, and is currently going through a patent application process.

A study of the ‘umami’ flavour in Wagyu beef is also being conducted by Zenchikuren (the National Livestock Farmers Co-op Federation). ‘Umami’ – one of five basic tastes and often described as the sensation of savouriness, complexity and depth – is regarded as one of the most important features of Wagyu beef. The study aims to scientifically capture the ‘umami’ of Wagyu beef, by conducting various analyses, including the fatty acids, amino acids and nucleic acids contained in beef.

Japan exported 74.6 tonnes of beef in 2006 valued at 653 million yen (A$7.45 million), an increase of 5% in volume and marked 40% in value on the previous year. Premium Wagyu beef is driving the growth, with demand from the US & South East Asia. Japanese producers are aware of growing competition from overseas Wagyu producers, and have set up a committee to introduce a generic logo for Wagyu born and raised in Japan (chaired by the Japan Livestock Industry Association). The new logo is to be launched later this year to promote Japanese Wagyu both in Japan and overseas markets.

The National cattle identification system in Japan contained a register of 433,666 head of Kuroge Washu Wagyu as of June 2007.

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