Fake Food: That's Not Kobe Beef You're Eating

Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2012 09:22 am
Fake Food: That's Not Kobe Beef You're Eating
All Things Considered
April 22, 2012

An increasing number of restaurants in the U.S. display signature dishes made with Kobe beef. From Kobe steak raviolis to Kobe beef burgers, you name it, Kobe beef seems to be popping up everywhere — except it's not Kobe beef.

Food writer Larry Olmsted of Forbes.com couldn't help but notice the trend and decided to bust everyone's bubble in a three-part expose of the so-called domestic Kobe beef industry.

What we've thought was Kobe beef was most likely U.S.-raised beef, Olmsted tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, not the expensive delicacy raised in Japan.

"You can guarantee that it was not real Kobe beef because real Kobe beef from Japan is not imported in the United States at all," he says.

Under Japanese law, real Kobe beef actually comes from a particular breed of cow known as Tajima.

"Most importantly," Olmsted says, "they have to be slaughtered in Hyogo prefecture where none of the slaughter houses are approved by the USDA for export," he tells Raz.

So, how is it possible that Kobe beef is advertised all across the U.S.? While Kobe cattlemen in Japan have both patent and trademarks on the different terminology for Kobe beef, U.S. law does not recognize or protect these trademarks.

"So, we can call pretty much anything we want Kobe," Olmsted says. "The Department of Agriculture cares that when you call something beef, it's beef, and that's about it."


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Reply Mon 23 Apr, 2012 11:42 am
I do not know what all the hype is about anyway. Just like "Angus beef" or "grass fed beef" all thee are marketing not flavor differences.
When I was in JApan about 25 years ago we ate Kobe beef (my company had a partnership with an outfit IN kobe) As I recall, the beef was good and flavorful but had the texture of a finished filet. ALL CUTS were tender due to the fat marbling .

I wouldnt grow cows like the kobe beef steers. Its a waste of resource(Anyway Japan has a limited space to do all of this beef pasturing so they took an alternative, they must import ALL the animals feed).
I dont know about the beer thing, I never saw em raise the damn things because they were grown in these warehouses.
To me, beef is beef just as long as it aint tough or old.
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Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2012 09:25 am
Well this is going to knock a few of the highfalutin sorts off their pedestals. For ages now they've gone on and on about the delicious Kobe beef steak which they've had or some other Kobe beef item and one of them I know personally is always yapping about how tasty and tender the Japanese beef is compared to *#)$@ American beef.

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