Due to crossbreeding of Wagyu cattle with other cattle breeds, there are different grades of Wagyu cattle in the USA. It is important to be aware of this when purchasing Wagyu beef, as USDA product labeling claims for Wagyu beef only require an animal to be 46.875% Wagyu.
Only DNA-verified 100% Wagyu cattle, like ours, may be registered as Fullbloods with the American Wagyu Association. Kobe Beef is produced from 100% Fullblood Black Wagyu cattle that are bred and raised in the Kobe region of Japan.
Many establishments offer Angus/Wagyu crossbred beef, or percentage beef, which may have fewer of the Wagyu characteristics. The crossbred cattle tend to grow quicker and larger, have less marbling and are brought to market in less time than 100% Fullblood Black Wagyu, so the price should be lower to reflect that.
How do you know what you are purchasing? Find out where the product came from and check website information. Ask the farmer who raised it for animal registration information. Terms such as “American Wagyu” and “American Kobe” generally mean that the beef is percentage beef or not 100% Fullblood Wagyu beef. Look for 100% Wagyu Beef on the USDA approved label.