Kobe beef, known for its flavor, juiciness and tenderness, comes from the Tajima strain of Wagyu (Japanese) cattle raised in Kobe, Japan.
But since 1994, American producers have been working to offer American Kobe-style beef that features the same characteristics that define Japan's Kobe beef, says Larry Meadows, special assistant to the administrator in the AMS Livestock, Poultry and Seed program.
By bringing herds of Kryoshi and Akaushi breeds of Wagyu cattle to the United States, and using closed herd and multi-trait selection processes, Meadows explains that American producers are creating special niches for what some might argue is the finest beef in the world.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service provides certification services to beef producers for a number of marketing programs making labeling claims concerning breed of cattle and carcass characteristics, including American Kobe-style beef.
These characteristics go beyond the requirements for the official USDA grades and are often the basis for approval of meat product labels making marketing claims, Meadows says.
AMS created specifications to assist breed associations and processing entities to market branded products to consumers. For the American Kobe-style beef specifications, AMS worked with industry partners at Heart Brand Beef, Clear Creek Farms, American Certified Kobe Beef/Certified Wagyu Beef, Morgan Davis International Wagyu Beef, and Rosewood Wagyu Beef.
AMS certification programs assure consumers that the products they purchase meet specified requirements and provide USDA's quality stamp of approval. USDA certification programs have successfully helped the industry market its brands with integrity for over 20 years, Meadows says.
Source: USDA Blog "Excellence in Taste and Flavor: American Kobe-Style Beef "