DNA testing introduced to protect Kobe beef brands

Hyogo, Sep. 26 – In October this year, beef producers and sellers in Hyogo Prefecture introduced DNA testing as part of efforts to make the control over Kobe and Tajima brand high-reputation beef more stringent.

Six certified Kobe beef slaughterhouses now collect meat samples when a Kobe cow is slaughtered and send the samples to a newly-established meat center in Himeji City. The center will mark the samples with unique identification numbers and store them, so that people can check meat in the market against the DNA of the stored samples.

The identification numbers will be printed on the meat certificates. Butcher’s shops or restaurants can check if the labels on meat sold under Kobe and Tajima brands are real. The demand for the high-brand beef is increasing as it gets popular among inbound travelers and in the markets in Europe, the U.S., and other countries in the world. The introduction of the tighter management system will make the beef brands more reliable.

Kobe Beef and Tajima Beef are produced from the Tajima strain of Japanese black cattle, which are grown only in Hyogo Prefecture. Also, there has been a rule that only registered producers and sellers can handle them. Hyogo has already been successful in raising the brand value of the beef produced in the prefecture by implementing strict management systems. However, as the high-quality beef are now increasingly popular among inbound tourists and in the export market, some falsely-labeled meat products are sold in Japan and abroad.

The Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association based in Hyogo said, “Checking the products in multiple ways can hopefully stop intentional mislabeling.”

The DNA verification system was implemented on October 1, 2019, by the group led by Hyogo Prefecture Meat Industry Cooperative Association.

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