When consumers hear the term Kobe, the first thought that comes to mind is typically not a city in Japan, but rather a juicy steak right off the grill. Kobe beef is globally renowned for its rich flavor, juiciness, and tenderness or high marbling content. Kobe beef is cuts of beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle (which mean Japanese cattle), raised in Kobe, Japan. But did you know you can find Kobe-style beef produced right here in the United States?
Since 1994, U.S. producers have worked to offer American Kobe-style beef that features the same characteristics, marbling and flavor that defines Japan’s Kobe beef by bringing herds of Kryoshi and Akaushi breeds of Wagyu cattle to the United States. The same closed herd and multi-trait selection process used for Kobe beef was adopted and is now used by various U.S. trade associations (American Akaushi Association, the American Wagyu Association, and the Texas Wagyu Association) that promote and uphold the industry standards. Highly prized for their rich flavor, these cattle produce what some would argue is among the finest beef in the world.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 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.
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 our 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. Our certification programs have successfully helped the industry market its brands with integrity for over twenty years. Many companies across the U.S. have had their Kobe-style American beef certified through AMS, assisting them in marketing their products.
Wagyu cattle have been extensively studied in Japan and in the United States, and university studies have shown that marbling in Wagyu beef has a composition that is significantly lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in omega monounsaturated fatty acid. AMS is proud to help consumers all over the world enjoy the elegance and excellence of American Kobe-style beef.