How to tell the difference between real and fake wagyu?

Wagyu beef is one of the most highly sought-after meats in the world. If you want to make sure you get authentic Japanese Wagyu beef, check out this guide.

Look Closely at the Steak

Once you've seen what real Wagyu beef looks like, you may be able to spot an imitation product with the naked eye. This type of beef features a distinct appearance due to the intricate fat marbling, which looks like thin white webs or veins across the entire piece. This creates a very different look from traditional American domestic beef, which usually has a chewy fat cap.

Due to the ratio of fat to meat and the way it is more consistently integrated together, the color of genuine Wagyu beef is uniformly pink in color compared to the iron-red hue of most beef cuts.

Check the Details

There are only four breeds of Japanese cattle from which authentic Wagyu beef can be sourced: Kuroge (Black), Akaushi (Brown), Shorthorn and Polled . About 90% of all Wagyu cattle are Kuroge breed, which is known for having the best level of intramuscular fat marbling. Every cow is tracked with cattle ID numbers and nose prints to ensure they have the correct lineage to produce genuine Wagyu beef. Inquiring about these details can help to determine whether the Wagyu beef you're considering is the real thing.

Look for a Grade

There is an extremely strict grading system applied by the Japanese Meat Grading Association for every piece of authentic Wagyu beef. Each cut is assigned a grade based on specific factors. First up is yield, which is the ratio of meat compared to the carcass weight, with grade A being the best at 72% or more. Next, a grade of 1 through 5 is given for each of the following categories: Beef Marbling Score (BMS), Beef Color Standard (BCS), Beef Fat Standard (BFS), and Firmness & Texture. The top grade for Wagyu beef is A5, which requires scoring a 5 in every category.

Ask to See a Certificate or Statue

Real Wagyu beef comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. This document should contain important information about the source of the beef as well as its official grade from the Japanese Meat Grading Association. For Kobe beef specifically, look for a bronze statue that is required to be on display in all restaurants and shops authorized to sell authentic Kobe beef.

To get genuine Japanese Wagyu beef with a Certificate of Authenticity, be sure to shop at The Wagyu Shop™.