What is Japanese Kobe Beef?
In order for cattle to be classified as authentic Japanese Kobe Beef there are certain requirements that the beef must meet. Cattle with this designation must be descendant from the Tajima bloodline of Japanese Black cattle and must be raised and processed in the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan. During the grading process of the beef, Kobe must be graded A4 or higher and must have a BMS of at least 6 in order to be approved. (See our Wagyu grading page for more information on what this means here) Lastly, the carcass weight must be 499.6 kg or less. Grading and quality testing on the cattle is conducted by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. If all the requirements and standards are met, then the meat is approved to be sold as authentic Japanese Kobe Beef and is marked with a Japanese Chrysanthemum as proof of authenticity.
When it comes to the retail sale of Kobe beef, there are limited quantities and availabilities of the beef every year. One of the reasons that Kobe beef is so sought after is because on average there are only about 3,000 heads of cattle every year that qualify to be approved as Kobe beef. Before a retailer is able to sell authentic Kobe Beef, they must apply and be approved to become a member of the Kobe Beef Association. There are strict requirements to becoming a member of the association. Due to these requirements, there are only a limited number of retailers approved in the U.S. who are able to sell authentic Kobe.
Alpine Butcher is an Official certified member of the Kobe Beef Association as a retailer of Kobe Beef. Members of the Kobe Beef Association can be found here. Every order of Kobe Beef comes with a certificate of authenticity containing information on the cattle, even including a code to be able to trace the lineage on the Kobe Beef Association website here.