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The word Wagyu is universally recognized to denote velvety, delicious Japanese beef. “Wa” refers to the meaning of Japan itself, and “gyu” stands for beef, cow, or cattle.
Characteristics of Genuine Japanese Wagyu Beef
“Wagyu” denotes the purebred Japanese cattle that started this respected heritage.
Wagyu is a Work of Art Blessed by Japan’s Climate and Natural Features
Wagyu cattle are provided a comfortable and enjoyable life in the pristine natural environments of Japan, which includes over 70% naturally mountainous and forest-rich land. They are fed Japanese rice straw from Japanese rice paddies, which is indispensable in building the pure white color of Wagyu's marbled fat. Japan's abundant sources of natural spring water further contribute to breeding healthy and strong Wagyu.
Wagyu are Individually Registered to Guarantee Genuine Wagyu Status
Japan is the only country in the world that registers every head of purebred Wagyu stock. Within four months of being born, calves are given examinations, including paper documentation, individual identify- cation number processing and recording of any abnormalities. If they meet standardized requirements, at six months old they are issued an official Wagyu calf registration certificate, serving as proof of purebred Wagyu stock—a heritage created in Japan and refined over generations. The registration traces the calf back three generations through a clearly defined pedigree, including parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, _ eventually leading to the ancestor of all Japanese domestic Wagyu from the 14th century.
Traceability and Quality Assurance
Individual Cattle Identification
Individual Identification Numbers trace Wagyu cattle’s place and date of birth, sex, breed, maternal parent's history, transfer information and__ locations, fattening period, processing information and where slaughtered. Japan is the only country in the world that tracks Wagyu down to every individual head of cattle. This information is available online to anyone who purchases Wagyu beef and wants to know the history of the animal they've invested in. Wagyu professionals also share this information with diners at restaurants—a highly informative and personal view on the pedigree of their beef. This system also prevents imitation Wagyu from entering the market.
Grading Criteria Specific to Wagyu Beef
Japanese Wagyu Exports are Guaranteed Superior Quality Beef
In Japan, Wagyu carcasses are objectively assessed for quality according to a standardized grading system established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. A certified grader from the Japan Meat Grading Association evaluates the dressed carcasses. Before entering the marketplace, Wagyu across Japan are assessed by the same objective criteria, no matter where and when the animal was bred or slaughtered. This guarantees that wagyu of superior quality is exported from japan to customers aboard.
Wagyu is Graded according to Yield, Marbling, Color, Texture, Firmness and Luster
Wagyu grading is divided into two categories of (a) yield grade and (2) meat quality grade.
(2) Meat color and brightness
(3) Firmness and texture and
(4) Luster and quality of fat. All four aspects of a meat quality are graded ona scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
It’s all about the Wagyu
Wagyu Welfare above All Else
Wagyu cattle are treated with true regard for animal Welfare, To that end, they do live luxurious lives. Highly pampered in spacious pens and rearing sheds, they receive regular brushings and of course, enjoy a rich diet of high-quality feed. Happy cattle are healthy cattle, and keeping their stress levels to an absolute minimum is another key to Wagyu’s world-renowned flavor and quality.
Managing Healthy Cattle Relationships in Spacious Breeding Grounds
Although cattle are not territorial, they have a natural tendency for hierarchical dominance. For this reason, Wagyu cattle are carefully observed from a young age to ensure a division between stronger and weaker cattle does not form. Then, as each head of cattle is managed directly by the same farmer on a daily basis, they can be monitored for individual behaviors. This allows Wagyu cattle to be segregated into groups that promote a beneficial hierarchy.
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